Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) primarily infects mucoepithelial tissues of the eye, the orofacial region, and to a lesser extent the genitalia. The virus is retrogradely transported through the axons of sensory and sympathetic neurons to their cell bodies to establishe a life-long latent infection. Throughout this latency period, the viral genome is transcriptionally silent except for a single region encoding the latency-associated transcript (LAT). The function of LAT is still largely unknown. To understand how HSV-1 latency might affect neurons, the authors transfected primary cultures of sympathetic neurons and trigeminal sensory neurons obtained from rat embryos with LAT-expressing plasmids. LAT increased the survival of both sympathetic and trigeminal neurons after induction of cell death by nerve growth factor (NGF) deprivation. Because HSV-1 is transported through axons both after initial infection and during reactivation, the authors considered the possibility that LAT may affect axonal growth. They found that LAT expression increased axonal regeneration by twofold in both types of neurons. Inhibition of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway reverses stimulation of both neuronal survival and axonal regeneration, which indicates that these effects are mediated through the MAPK pathway. These data provide evidence that HSV-1 LAT promotes survival of sympathetic as well as trigeminal neurons. The authors show for the first time that LAT stimulates axonal regeneration in both sympathetic and trigeminal neurons.