A new class of very potent and selective non-nucleoside inhibitors of HIV reverse transcriptase (RT) has recently been identified. The prototype compound trovirdine (LY 300046 HCl) and one analogue, MSC-127, have been studied with respect to inhibition of wild-type HIV-1 RT and RT with various mutations known to give rise to resistance to other non-nucleoside RT inhibitors, namely Leu100-->Ile (Ile100), Glu138-->Arg (Arg138), Tyr181-->Cys (Cys181) and Tyr188-->His (His188). The inhibition of HIV-1 RT by trovirdine and MSC-127 was reversible and template dependent. Trovirdine inhibited HIV-1 RT with an IC50 of 0.007 microM when employing heteropolymeric primer/template (oligo-DNA/ribosomal RNA) and dGTP as substrate. Enzyme kinetic studies showed that inhibition of RT by trovirdine was non-competitive with regard to deoxynucleoside triphosphates and uncompetitive with respect to varied primer/template under steady-state conditions. The amino acid changes Leu100, Tyr181 and Tyr188 gave rise to 25-, 147- and 12-fold decrease in inhibition by trovirdine. Enzyme-kinetic studies on trovirdine have been carried out using various RT mutants and compared to the properties of the earlier reported non-nucleoside RT inhibitors 9-Cl-TIBO, nevirapine and L-697,661.