The incorporation rates of labelled tyrosine, DOPA. tyramine. and dopamine have been investigated during the in vivo formation of the protoberberine alkaloid, jatrorrhizine, in callus cultures of Berberis canadensis. While tyrosine was equally well incorporated into both the isoquinoline (54%) and benzyl (46%) portions of the alkaloid, DOPA was almost exclusively (91%) transformed into the isoquinoline moiety. However, tyramine (25%) and to a lesser extent, dopamine (15%) were incorporated into the aldehyde-derived, benzylic half of the isoquinoline molecule as well. In order to investigate further the precursory roles of these compounds, select enzymes involved in tyrosine metabolism in alkaloid-producing cell cultures have been studied. The occurrence of tyrosine decarboxylase, phenolase, transaminase, p-hydroxyphenylpyruvate decarboxylase, amineoxidase and methionine adenosyl transferase was demonstrated in suspension cells of Berberis. These enzymes were partially purified and a preliminary characterization was performed. In the light of these and previous data, the differential metabolism of tyrosine and DOPA in the early steps of isoquinoline alkaloid biosynthesis is discussed. Conclusive evidence as to the biosynthetic origin of the phenylacetaldehydes which furnish the benzylic moiety of the alkaloids is precluded by the presence of both amineoxidase and phenylpyruvate decarboxylase activities in these cultures.