The narrow species tropisms of Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) and the Kaposi's Sarcoma -associated Herpesvirus (KSHV) have made Murid Herpesvirus-4 (MuHV-4) an important tool for understanding how gammaherpesviruses colonize their hosts. However, while MuHV-4 pathogenesis studies can assign a quantitative importance to individual genes, the complexity of in vivo infection can make the underlying mechanisms hard to discern. Furthermore, the lack of good in vitro MuHV-4 latency/reactivation systems with which to dissect mechanisms at the cellular level has made some parallels with EBV and KSHV hard to draw. Here we achieved control of the MuHV-4 lytic/latent switch in vitro by modifying the 5' untranslated region of its major lytic transactivator gene, ORF50. We terminated normal ORF50 transcripts by inserting a polyadenylation signal and transcribed ORF50 instead from a down-stream, doxycycline-inducible promoter. In this way we could establish fibroblast clones that maintained latent MuHV-4 episomes without detectable lytic replication. Productive virus reactivation was then induced with doxycycline. We used this system to show that the MuHV-4 K3 gene plays a significant role in protecting reactivating cells against CD8(+) T cell recognition.