A rabies virus-derived defective interfering particle (DI) was isolated and characterized. The DI genome contained an internal deletion of 6.4 kb spanning the 3' moiety of the pseudogene region (psi) and most of the L gene. DI-specific monocistronic N, NS, and M mRNAs as well as a G/L fusion mRNA were transcribed in cells coinfected with DI and helper virus. In addition, polycistronic DI RNAs and standard virus RNAs with internal A stretches and intergenic regions were found. Superinfection experiments showed that heterologous rabies-related viruses (Lyssavirus serotypes 2, 3, and 4) can complement the L deficiency of the DI genome. The heterologous polymerase proteins recognize correctly the replicational and transcriptional signal sequences of the Lyssavirus serotype 1-derived DI.