Borna disease virus (BDV) is a nonsegmented, negative-strand RNA virus related to rhabdoviruses and paramyxoviruses. Unlike animal viruses of these two families, BDV transcribes RNAs in the nuclei of infected cells and produces high levels of transcripts containing multiple open reading frames. Previous Northern blot analysis of RNA from BDV-infected rat brain tissue has shown that two viral transcripts, a 6.1-kb RNA and a 1.5-kb RNA, lack regions that are internal to two otherwise identical transcripts, the 7.1-kb RNA and the 2.8-kb RNA, respectively (T. Briese, A. Schneemann, A. Lewis, Y. Park, S. Kim, H. Ludwig, and W. I. Lipkin, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 91:4362-4366, 1994). To determine the precise location of this deletion, we performed reverse transcription PCR analysis using total RNA from BDV-infected rat brain tissue. This investigation resulted in the identification of two introns in the 7.1- and 2.8-kb RNAs, which can be alternatively spliced to yield additional RNA species, including the 6.1- and 1.5-kb RNAs. Transient transfection of COS-7 cells with a cDNA clone of the 2.8-kb RNA resulted in the production of both the 2.8-kb RNA and the 1.5-kb RNA, confirming the theory that the 2.8-kb RNA is a sufficient substrate for splicing in mammalian cells. Splicing has not previously been observed in nonsegmented, negative-strand RNA viruses and presumably serves as a mechanism by which expression of BDV proteins is regulated in infected cells.