Latent herpes simplex virus-1 (HSV1) genomes in peripheral nerve ganglia periodically reactivate, initiating a gene expression program required for productive replication. Whether molecular cues detected by axons can be relayed to cell bodies and harnessed to regulate latent genome expression in neuronal nuclei is unknown. Using a neuron culture model, we found that inhibiting mTOR, depleting its regulatory subunit raptor, or inducing hypoxia all trigger reactivation. While persistent mTORC1 activation suppressed reactivation, a mutant 4E-BP (eIF4E-binding protein) translational repressor unresponsive to mTORC1 stimulated reactivation. Finally, inhibiting mTOR in axons induced reactivation. Thus, local changes in axonal mTOR signaling that control translation regulate latent HSV1 genomes in a spatially segregated compartment.