Considerable interest has been focused on inducing RNA interference (RNAi) in neurons to study gene function and identify new targets for disease intervention. Although small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) have been used to silence genes in neurons, in vivo delivery of RNAi remains a major challenge limiting its applications. We have developed a highly efficient method for in vivo gene silencing in dorsal root ganglia (DRG) using replication-defective herpes simplex viral (HSV-1) vectors. HSV-mediated delivery of short-hairpin RNA (shRNA) targeting reporter genes resulted in highly effective and specific silencing in neuronal and non-neuronal cells in culture and in the DRG of mice in vivo including in a transgenic mouse model. We further establish proof of concept by demonstrating in vivo silencing of the endogenous trpv1 gene. These data are the first to show silencing in DRG neurons in vivo by vector-mediated delivery of shRNA. Our results support the utility of HSV vectors for gene silencing in peripheral neurons and the potential application of this technology to the study of nociceptive processes and in pain gene target validation studies.