Purified virions of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) are capable of synthesizing two distinct types of virus-specific RNA in vitro. The first consists of several viral mRNAs which have been previously shown to contain the blocked 5' terminal sequence GpppApApCpApGp and 3' terminal poly(A). The second type of RNA has an unblocked 5' terminus and does not contain poly(A) stretches long enough to bind to oligo (dT)-cellulose columns. It migrates in 20% polyacrylamide gels as a single homogeneous peak with an estimated chain length of 68 nucleotides. Base analysis demonstrated that this small RNA molecule is composed of 48% AMP, 20% CMP, 11% GMP, and 21% UMP. The 5' terminal sequence of the small RNA is ppApCpGp, which appears to be complementary to the 3' terminal sequence of the VSV genome RNA (...PypGpU). These results indicate that this small RNA molecule probably represents the intitiated lead-in RNA segment which is removed during formation of VSV mRNAs by a possible processing mechanism.