The tumor suppressor protein p53 plays a role in cellular responses to cancer-initiating events by regulating progress through the cell cycle. Several recent studies have shown that p53 transactivates expression of the members of the proapoptotic microRNA-34 family, which are underexpressed in several cancers. We demonstrate here that the latency-associated cluster of microRNAs (miRNA) encoded by an oncogenic herpesvirus, gallid herpesvirus 2 (GaHV-2), is a direct target of p53. Robust transcriptional activity was induced in three avian cell lines by a sequence mapping 600 base pairs (bp) upstream of the cluster of miRNAs. We found transcription start sites for the pri-miRNA transcript at the 3′ end of this transcription-inducing sequence. The promoter has no consensus core promoter element, but is organized into a variable number of tandem repeats of 60-bp harboring p53-responsive elements (RE). The minimal functional construct consists of two tandem repeats. Mutagenesis to change the sequence of the p53 RE abolished transcriptional activity, whereas p53 induction enhanced mature miRNA expression. The identification of a viral miRNA promoter regulated by p53 is biologically significant, because all avirulent GaHV-2 strains described to date lack the corresponding regulatory sequence, whereas all virulent, very virulent, and hypervirulent strains possess at least two tandem repeats harboring the p53 RE. Copyright © 2010 RNA Society.