Abstract Studies of the solution properties of gold(III)tetrakis(4- N-methylpyridyl)porphine and its DNA binding characteristics have been conducted utilizing uv/vis absorption spectroscopy, circular dichroism (CD), Mossbauer spectroscopy, and temperature-jump relaxation techniques. These studies indicate that over the concentration range considered this water soluble gold(III) porphyrin does not aggregate, binds axial ligands only weakly with a preference for soft Lewis bases, and is capable of intercalation into nucleic acids of appropriate base pair content. The interaction of this and several other porphyrins with the synthetic polynucleotide poly(dA-dC)·poly(dT-dG) has been studied. Spectroscopic signatures for intercalation were found for those derivatives not having axial ligands. Intercalation into chromatin in vitro can also occur with those porphyrins and metalloporphyrins which do not have axial ligands. Finally, studies utilizing microinjection techniques indicate that once within the cell, tetrakis(4- N-methylpyridyl)porphine tends to localize in the nucleus.