IDS inhibits DNA synthesis and mitosis of L cells only when present during the late G1 phase of the cell cycle, as shown with L cells synchronized by a variety of methods. This corresponds well with earlier findings that IDS inhibits DNA synthesis in mitogen-stimulated lymphocytes when present between 16 and 24 h after adding mitogen. In both cell types, the inhibition produced by IDS appears to be totally the result of elevation of cAMP level. Thus, inhibitors of cAMP phosphodiesterase work synergistically with IDS, and activators of cAMP phosphodiesterase overcome the inhibition by IDS. This paper shows that IDS raises cAMP levels in L cells only within a narrow interval of the cell cycle, around 6-8 h after mitosis. This cell cycle specificity, which may be related to appearance of receptors for IDS only at discrete times, may be important in limiting IDS action to suppression, as elevated cAMP levels have a variety of other effects during other phases of the cell cycle.