The influence of miRNAs on the host-pathogen environment is largely unknown and under intensive investigation. Whether produced by the pathogen or by the host cell, these miRNAs will sculpt the intracellular landscape, as their activity will ultimately affect levels of target proteins. Using a high-throughput sequencing approach, we identified 19 novel small RNAs produced during the early hours of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) infection in epithelial cells. Six of the novel RNAs had predicted folds characteristic of miRNAs. One of the six, miR-92944, which resides in the 5' UTR of the ul42 gene in the sense orientation, was confirmed as a bona fide miRNA by RT-PCR and stem-loop PCR analysis. Northern blot analysis was used to observe the precursor forms of miR-92944. Viral mutants that do not produce miR-92944 exhibited significant reductions in viral titers in both single and multi-step growth analysis and a fourfold reduction in plaque size. The miR-92944 mutants produce wild-type levels of ICP4, UL42, VP5, and gC proteins contain no additional changes in the DNA sequence surrounding the site of mutagenesis. The defective phenotype of miR-92944 mutants was complemented in V42.3 cells, which contain the 5'UTR of ul42. We also found that miR-H1 expression was diminished in cells infected with the miR-92944 mutant virus. This study provides new information on the miRNA landscape during the early stages of HSV-1 infection and reveals novel targets for antagonistic molecules that may curtail the establishment of lytic or latent virus infection.