T-705, a substituted pyrazine compound, has been found to exhibit potent anti-influenza virus activity in vitro and in vivo. In a time-of-addition study, it was indicated that T-705 targeted an early to middle stage of the viral replication cycle but had no effect on the adsorption or release stage. The anti-influenza virus activity of T-705 was attenuated by addition of purines and purine nucleosides, including adenosine, guanosine, inosine, and hypoxanthine, whereas pyrimidines did not affect its activity. T-705-4-ribofuranosyl-5'-triphosphate (T-705RTP) and T-705-4-ribofuranosyl-5'-monophosphate (T-705RMP) were detected in MDCK cells treated with T-705. T-705RTP inhibited influenza virus RNA polymerase activity in a dose-dependent and a GTP-competitive manner. Unlike ribavirin, T-705 did not have an influence on cellular DNA or RNA synthesis. Inhibition of cellular IMP dehydrogenase by T-705RMP was about 150-fold weaker than that by ribavirin monophosphate, indicating the specificity of the anti-influenza virus activity and lower level of cytotoxicity of T-705. These results suggest that T-705RTP, which is generated in infected cells, may function as a specific inhibitor of influenza virus RNA polymerase and contributes to the selective anti-influenza virus activity of T-705.