Muscarinic agonists cause a stable activation of tyrosine 3-monooxygenase in the superior cervical ganglion and increase the incorporation of 32Pi into phospholipids in the ganglion. We have studied the relationship between muscarine-stimulated phospholipid turnover and the muscarine-induced activation of tyrosine 3-monooxygenase. Both effects of muscarine are apparent within 2 min of incubation, and both are essentially independent of extracellular Ca++. All concentrations of muscarine that increase dopa synthesis also stimulate phospholipid turnover. Bethanechol is less efficacious than muscarine in producing both of these effects. Lithium, which disrupts phospholipid metabolism, inhibits the muscarine-stimulated accumulation of dopa. Other agents which affect phospholipid metabolism, including phospholipase C and deoxycholate, also increase the synthesis of dopa in the ganglion. These data support the hypothesis that changes in phospholipid metabolism mediate the activation of tyrosine 3-monooxygenase by muscarinic agonists.