BACE1 is a key enzyme involved in the production of amyloid ß-peptide (Aß) in Alzheimer's disease (AD) brains. Normally, its expression is constitutively inhibited due to the presence of the 5'untranslated region (5'UTR) in the BACE1 promoter. BACE1 expression is activated by phosphorylation of the eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF)2-alpha, which reverses the inhibitory effect exerted by BACE1 5'UTR. There are four kinases associated with different types of stress that could phosphorylate eIF2-alpha. Here we focus on the double-stranded (ds) RNA-activated protein kinase (PKR). PKR is activated during viral infection, including that of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1), a virus suggested to be implicated in the development of AD, acting when present in brains of carriers of the type 4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene. HSV1 is a dsDNA virus but it has genes on both strands of the genome, and from these genes complementary RNA molecules are transcribed. These could activate BACE1 expression by the PKR pathway. Here we demonstrate in HSV1-infected neuroblastoma cells, and in peripheral nervous tissue from HSV1-infected mice, that HSV1 activates PKR. Cloning BACE1 5'UTR upstream of a luciferase (luc) gene confirmed its inhibitory effect, which can be prevented by salubrinal, an inhibitor of the eIF2-alpha phosphatase PP1c. Treatment with the dsRNA analog poly (I∶C) mimicked the stimulatory effect exerted by salubrinal over BACE1 translation in the 5'UTR-luc construct and increased Aß production in HEK-APPsw cells. Summarizing, our data suggest that PKR activated in brain by HSV1 could play an important role in the development of AD.