Synthesis of pyrimidine derivatives with a side-chain attached to the C-6 of pyrimidine ring (6-14) is reported. Target compounds 8 and 12 were subjected to in vitro phosphorylation tests, determination of their binding affinities to herpes simplex virus (HSV-1) thymidine kinase (TK) and catalytic turnover constants. Fluorinated pyrimidine derivative 12 (40 microM) exhibited better binding affinity for HSV-1 TK than acyclovir (ACV, 170 microM) and ganciclovir (GCV, 48 microM). Catalytic turnover constant (k(cat)) of 12 (0.08 s(-1)) was close to the k(cat) values of ACV (0.10 s(-1)) and GCV (0.10 s(-1)). Furthermore, compounds 8 and 12 showed no cytotoxic effects in HSV-1 TK-transduced and non-transduced cell lines. Besides, compounds 8 and 12 did not exhibit antiviral or cytostatic activities against several viruses and malignant tumor cell lines that were evaluated. The new fluorinated pyrimidine derivative 16 that is phosphorylated by HSV-1 TK could be developed as non-toxic PET-tracer molecule. Thus, 18F labelling of the precursor 14 was performed by nucleophilic substitution using [18F] tetrabutylammonium fluoride as the fluorinating reagent.