Decoding the information in mRNA during protein synthesis relies on tRNA adaptors, the abundance of which can affect the decoding rate and translation efficiency. To determine whether cells alter tRNA abundance to selectively regulate protein expression, we quantified changes in the abundance of individual tRNAs at different time points in response to diverse stress conditions in Saccharomyces cerevisiae . We found that the tRNA pool was dynamic and rearranged in a manner that facilitated selective translation of stress-related transcripts. Through genomic analysis of multiple data sets, stochastic simulations, and experiments with designed sequences of proteins with identical amino acids but altered codon usage, we showed that changes in tRNA abundance affected protein expression independently of factors such as mRNA abundance. We suggest that cells alter their tRNA abundance to selectively affect the translation rates of specific transcripts to increase the amounts of required proteins under diverse stress conditions.