The leader RNA transcript of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) has been immunoprecipitated from infected BHK cell extracts by anti-La specific sera from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This association was specific as lupus antisera with other specificities failed to precipitate leader RNA. The amount of leader RNA associated with the La antigen peaked 4 hr post infection and then declined. Leader RNA complexed with viral nucleocapsid proteins increased at a slower rate but eventually predominated 6 hr post infection. By 16 hr all of the leader RNA was associated with nucleo-capsid proteins. Although a significant portion of the leader RNA was present in isolated nuclei 4 hr post infection, all of the leader RNA outside the nucleus was bound to La protein. Leader RNA is the first non-RNA polymerase III product found to associate with the La protein. The proposed function of the leader-La complex in VSV transcription and replication and in viral cytopathology is discussed. © 1983.