[2',5'-Bis-O-(tert-butyldimethylsilyl)-beta-D-ribofuranosyl]-3'-spiro- 5"-(4"-amino-1",2"-oxathiole-2", 2"-dioxide)thymine (TSAO-T) is a representative of a novel class of nucleoside analogues that are endowed with a potent and specific activity against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) type 1 and are targeted at the HIV-1 reverse transcriptase (RT). Inhibition of HIV-1 RT by TSAO-T was reversible and noncompetitive with respect to dGTP as the substrate and poly(C).oligo(dG) as the template/primer. In contrast with the nonnucleoside derivatives tetrahydroimidazo-[4,5,1-jk][1,4]- benzodiazepin-2(1H)-thione (TIBO) (R-82150), nevirapine (BI-RG-587) and the HEPT derivative I-HEPU-SdM, TSAO-T was not inhibitory to HIV-1 RT in the presence of other homopolymeric template/primers. It did not interfere with the DNA-dependent DNA polymerase function of HIV-1 RT, HIV-2 RT, herpes simplex virus type 1 DNA polymerase, or Taq polymerase. However, TSAO-T proved inhibitory to the HIV-1 RT reaction primed by Escherichia coli 16S/23S rRNA, irrespective of the nature of the radiolabeled 2'-deoxynucleotide 5'-triphosphate (dNTP) used. TSAO-T does not act as a DNA chain terminator. It interacts with HIV-1 RT at a nonsubstrate (dNTP)-binding site.