Infection of baby hamster kidney cells (BHK-21/13) with Saint Louis encephalitis (SLE) virus depressed the rate of protein and ribonucleic acid (RNA) synthesis until viral RNA synthesis began 6 hr postinfection (PI). Virus-directed RNA synthesis was subsequently inhibited until 12 hr PI when virion maturation began. The rate of protein synthesis reached a peak 6 hr PI and was subsequently depressed until just before the onset of virion maturation. Density gradient analysis of phenol-extracted RNA from actinomycin-treated infected cells indicated that, at 6 to 8 hr and again at 12 to 20 hr PI, three species of viral-specific RNA were synthesized. The most rapid sedimenting form (43S) was ribonuclease-sensitive and had a base composition similar to the RNA isolated from mature virions. The 20S RNA species was ribonuclease-resistant and had a sedimentation coefficient and base composition similar to the replicative form associated with other arbovirus infections. The 26S RNA was ribonuclease-resistant (0.2 μg/ml, 0.1 m NaCl, 25 C, 30 min) and had a nucleotide base composition closer to the 20S form than to the values for 43S RNA. Five-minute pulse labeling of infected cultures during the period viral RNA synthesis was maximal resulted in labeling of only the 20S to 22S RNA fractions. With pulse-labeling periods of 10 min, both the 20S and 26S RNA species were radioactive. Periods of radioactive labeling of as long as 15 min were required before the 43S form was radioactively labeled. These results suggest that the 20S and 26S RNA may be intermediate forms in the synthesis of 43S viral RNA.