Several studies have previously defined host-derived signaling events capable of driving lytic gammaherpesvirus replication or enhancing immediate-early viral gene expression. Yet signaling pathways that regulate later stages of the productive gammaherpesvirus replication cycle are still poorly defined. In this study, we utilized a mass spectrometric approach to identify c-Jun as an abundant cellular phosphoprotein present in late stages of lytic murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV68) infection. Kinetically, c-Jun phosphorylation was enhanced as infection progressed, and this correlated with enhanced phosphorylation of the c-Jun amino-terminal kinases JNK1 and JNK2 and activation of AP-1 transcription. These events were dependent on progression beyond viral immediate-early gene expression, but not dependent on viral DNA replication. Both pharmacologic and dominant-negative blockade of JNK1/2 activity inhibited viral replication, and this correlated with inhibition of viral DNA synthesis and reduced viral gene expression. These data suggest a model in which MHV68 by necessity amplifies and usurps JNK/c-Jun signaling as infection progresses in order to facilitate late stages of the MHV68 lytic infection cycle.