Several analogues of 2',3'-dideoxythymidine 5'-triphosphate [i.e., 3'-azido-2', 3'-dideoxythymidine 5'-triphosphate(Azdd TTP), 2',3'-didehydro-2',3'-dideoxythymidine 5'-triphosphate (ddeTTP), alpha, beta-methylene 3'-azido-2',3'-dideoxythymidine 5'-diphosphate, alpha, beta-methylene 3'-azido-2',3'-dideoxythymidine 5'-triphosphate, and beta, gamma-methylene 3'-azido-2',3'-dideoxythymidine 5'-triphosphate] and 2',3'-didehydro-2',3'-dideoxycytidine 5'-triphosphate (ddeCTP) have been evaluated for their inhibitory effects on murine retroviral reverse transcriptase and various other DNA polymerases, including DNA polymerases alpha, beta, and gamma, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase, and DNA polymerase I. None of the compounds inhibited the activity of DNA polymerase alpha under the reaction conditions employed. When Mg2+ was replaced by Mn2+, however, DNA polymerase alpha was strongly inhibited only by ddeTTP. DNA polymerase beta activity was inhibited only by ddeTTP and ddeCTP. All the compounds, except for ddeCTP, inhibited DNA polymerase gamma activity, ddeTTP being a particularly strong inhibitor of gamma-polymerase (Ki = 3.5 nM). Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase was only slightly inhibited by any of the compounds. AzddTTP was a potent inhibitor of reverse transcriptase (Ki = 42 nM), but it also inhibited the activities of DNA polymerase gamma and DNA polymerase I.