The technique of photoaffinity labeling is applied to the actinomycin D system to provide a novel probe for the examination of the interactions of actinomycin D with nucleic acids. The capacity for covalent attachment of actinomycin D will aid greatly in the study of target-site specificities and the correlations of biological effects with biophysical DNA interactions. Through chemical modification of the parent actinomycin D molecule with a photoreactive azido substituent, a functional analog of the parent actinomycin D is generated having equilibrium binding properties identical to those of the parent molecule yet with the capacity to form a covalent attachment to DNA upon photolysis. The results presented here describe the noncovalent interactions of this photoreactive probe to DNA (absence of light) and compares the binding properties observed to those of the parent actinomycin D and 7-aminoactinomycin D analog. These studies demonstrate that the DNA binding properties (i.e. binding affinity, binding site size, and sequence specificity) is retained by the 7-azidoactinomycin D, thus providing a suitable probe for examining actinomycin D-DNA interactions.