The triphosphate of 9-(1,3-dihydroxy-2-propoxymethyl)guanine (DHPG) competitively inhibits incorporation of dGTP into DNA catalyzed by DNA polymerases specified by both type 1 and type 2 herpes simplex virus. K1 values were estimated to be 33 nM for type 1 and 46 nM for type 2-specified DNA polymerase. DHPG acted as an alternate substrate to dGTP for the virus-specified DNA polymerase. Incorporation of DHPG into DNA resulted in the slowing down of the rate of DNA synthesis. The position of DHPG incorporation was analyzed, and it was found to enter both internal and terminal linkages. DNA which contained DHPG at termini was found to competitively inhibit utilization of activated DNA as primer. DNA polymerase alpha and DNA polymerases from several phosphonoformic acid-resistant herpes simplex virus type 1 strains were examined for sensitivity to 9-(1,3-dihydroxy-2-propoxymethyl)guanine triphosphate. A lack of correlation between the in vivo sensitivities of the virus mutants and the K1 values of the DNA polymerases was noted.