Hemin, which has an important role in the regulation of hemoglobin synthesis, also regulates the activity of cytoplasmic DNA polymerase from erythroid hyperplastic bone marrow cells and reticulocytes. Hemin inhibits DNA synthesis by binding reversibly to the enzyme. Binding assays demonstrated that hemin prevents association and causes dissociation of the DNA-enzyme complex. This is in contrast to inhibitory compounds that specifically interact with DNA such as ethidium bromide and daunomycin which have little or no effect on the DNA polymerase-template complex. Kinetic analysis reveals that hemin inhibition of DNA synthesis is competitive with respect to template and noncompetitive with respect to substrate. The inhibitory effect of hemin can be reversed by subsequent addition of globin, indicating that the inhibition of DNA synthesis by hemin is not due to irreversible inactivation of the enzyme.