Vesicular stomatitis virus is a negative-stranded RNA virus. Its nucleoprotein (N) binds the viral genomic RNA and is involved in multiple functions including transcription, replication, and assembly. We have determined a 2.9 angstrom structure of a complex containing 10 molecules of the N protein and 90 bases of RNA. The RNA is tightly sequestered in a cavity at the interface between two lobes of the N protein. This serves to protect the RNA in the absence of polynucleotide synthesis. For the RNA to be accessed, some conformational change in the N protein should be necessary.