The initiation of transcription and replication of influenza A virus requires the 5' and 3' ends of vRNA. Here, the role of segment-specific non-coding sequences of influenza A virus on viral RNA synthesis was studied. Recombinant viruses, with the nonstructural protein (NS) segment-specific non-coding sequences replaced by the corresponding sequences of the neuraminidase (NA) segment, were characterized. The NS and NA vRNA levels in cells infected with these mutants were much higher than those of the wild type, whereas the NS and NA mRNA levels of the mutants were comparable to the wild-type levels. By contrast, the PB2 vRNA and mRNA levels of all the tested viruses were similar, indicating that vRNA with heterologous segment-specific non-coding sequences was not affected by the mutations. The observations suggested that, with the cooperation between the homologous 5' and 3'segment-specific sequences, the introduced mutations could specifically enhance the replication of NA and NS vRNA.