The following individual diastereomers of oligothymidylate ethyl esters (the alkyl phosphodiester group is asymmetric with R or S configuration) have been prepared: d[(Tr)8Tp'(Et)T] (I), d[(Tp)8Tp''(Et)T] (II), d[(Tp)8Tp'(Et)TpT] (III), d[(Tp)8Tp'' X (Et)TpT] (IV). A totally esterified analogue d[[(Tp(Et)7]T] (V) was obtained as a diastereomeric mixture. All oligothymidylate derivatives revealed substrate activity as primers of DNA polymerase with poly(dA) as a template. The values of the maximal reaction rates were equal to 14; 2,6; 68; 24 and 0,1% for oligothymidylates (I)-(V) with respect to Vm value (100%) for (Tp)9T. Km values of oligothymidylates (I)-(V), 2,7; 2,5; 0,51; 7,2 microM, were obtained in relation to Km for d[(Tp)9T] (0,4 microM). Diastereomers (I) and (II) were not destroyed by Klenow fragment of DNA polymerase I which has only 3'----5' exonuclease activity. However, these derivatives were hydrolyzed by complete DNA polymerase I due to its 5'----3' exonuclease activity, the reaction rate being 3-10 times lower than in case of d[(Tp)9T]. The data suggest an essential contribution to the primer binding from the positive enzyme group interaction with the 3'-end negatively charged phosphate group of oligonucleotide, together with the primer complementary interaction with the template. At least two phosphodiester groups of the oligonucleotide primer are essential for the reaction of polymerization following the correct binding.