Saccharomyces cerevisiae contains four known acyl-CoA synthetases (fatty acid activation proteins, Faaps). Faa1p and Faa4p activate exogenously derived fatty acids. Acyl-CoA metabolism plays a critical role in regulating protein N-myristoylation by the essential enzyme, myristoyl-CoA:protein N- myristoyltransferase (Nmt1p). In this report, we have examined whether Faa1p and Faa4p have distinct roles in affecting protein N-myristoylation as cells transition from growth in rich media to a growth-arrested state during nutrient deprivation (stationary phase). The colony-forming potential of 10 isogenic strains was defined as a function of time spent in stationary phase. These strains contained either a wild type or mutant NMT1 allele, and wild type or null alleles of each FAA. Only the combination of the Nmt mutant (nmt451Dp; reduced affinity for myristoyl-CoA) and loss of Faa4p produced a dramatic loss of colony-forming units (CFU). The progressive millionfold reduction in CFU was associated with a deficiency in protein N-myristoylation that first appeared during logarithmic growth, worsened through the post- diauxic phase, and became extreme in stationary phase. Northern and Western blot analyses plus N-myristoyltransferase assays showed that Nmt is normally present only during the log and diauxic/post-diauxic periods, indicating that N-myristoylproteins present in stationary phase are 'inherited' from these earlier phases. Moreover, FAA4 is the only FAA induced during the critical diauxic/early post-diauxic transition. Although substitution of nmt1-451D for NMT1 results in deficiencies in protein N-myristoylation, these deficiencies are modest and limited by compensatory responses that include augmented expression of nmt1-451D and precocious induction of FAA4 in log phase. Loss of Faa4p from nmt1-451D cells severely compromises their capacity to adequately myristoylate Nmt substrates prior to entry into stationary phase since none of the other Faaps are able to functionally compensate for its absence. To identify Nmt1p substrates that may affect maintenance of proliferative potential during stationary phase, we searched the yeast genome for known and putative N-myristoyl-proteins. Of the 64 genes found, 48 were successfully deleted in NMT1 cells. Removal of any one of the following nine substrates produced a loss of CFU similar to that observed in nmt1-451Dfaa4Δ cells: Arf1p, Arf2p, Sip2p, Van1p, Ptc2p, YBL049W (homology to Snf7p), YJR114W, YKR007W, and YMR077C. These proteins provide opportunities to further define the molecular mechanisms that regulate survival during stationary phase.