We have studied the effects of four nonnucleoside inhibitors, including the novel natural product inhibitor calanolide A, on molecular chimeras containing complementary segments of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and type 2 (HIV-2) reverse transcriptases (RTs). All four compounds specifically inhibited the DNA polymerase activity of HIV-1 RT but had no apparent effect on the RNase H activity of this enzyme or on the DNA polymerase or RNase H activity of HIV-2 RT. Three of these compounds showed the generally expected patterns of resistance and susceptibility with the various chimeric RTs. However, the inhibition patterns of the chimeric RTs by calanolide A provided evidence that there is a segment between residues 94 and 157 in HIV-1 RT that is critical for inhibition. However, the data also suggest that there may be a second segment located between amino acids 225 and 427 in HIV-1 RT that is also important for specifying susceptibility to the drug.