Herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) is a lethal neurological disease resulting from infection with Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1). Loss-of-function mutations in the UNC93B1, TLR3, TRIF, TRAF3, and TBK1 genes have been associated with a human genetic predisposition to HSE, demonstrating the UNC93B-TLR3-type I IFN pathway as critical in protective immunity to HSV-1. However, the TLR3, UNC93B1, and TRIF mutations exhibit incomplete penetrance and represent only a minority of HSE cases, perhaps reflecting the effects of additional host genetic factors. In order to identify new host genes, proteins and signaling pathways involved in HSV-1 and HSE susceptibility, we have implemented the first genome-wide mutagenesis screen in an in vivo HSV-1 infectious model. One pedigree (named P43) segregated a susceptible trait with a fully penetrant phenotype. Genetic mapping and whole exome sequencing led to the identification of the causative nonsense mutation L3X in the Receptor-type tyrosine-protein phosphatase C gene (Ptprc(L3X)), which encodes for the tyrosine phosphatase CD45. Expression of MCP1, IL-6, MMP3, MMP8, and the ICP4 viral gene were significantly increased in the brain stems of infected Ptprc(L3X) mice accounting for hyper-inflammation and pathological damages caused by viral replication. Ptprc(L3X) mutation drastically affects the early stages of thymocytes development but also the final stage of B cell maturation. Transfer of total splenocytes from heterozygous littermates into Ptprc(L3X) mice resulted in a complete HSV-1 protective effect. Furthermore, T cells were the only cell population to fully restore resistance to HSV-1 in the mutants, an effect that required both the CD4⁺ and CD8⁺ T cells and could be attributed to function of CD4⁺ T helper 1 (Th1) cells in CD8⁺ T cell recruitment to the site of infection. Altogether, these results revealed the CD45-mediated T cell function as potentially critical for infection and viral spread to the brain, and also for subsequent HSE development.