Gammaherpesviruses encode proteins with homology to the cellular purine metabolic enzyme formyl-glycinamide-phosphoribosyl-amidotransferase (FGARAT), but the role of these viral FGARATs (vFGARATs) in the pathogenesis of a natural host has not been investigated. We report a novel role for the ORF75A vFGARAT of murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV68) in infectious virion production and colonization of mice. MHV68 mutants with premature stop codons in orf75A exhibited a log reduction in acute replication in the lungs after intranasal infection, which preceded a defect in colonization of multiple host reservoirs including the mediastinal lymph nodes, peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and the spleen. Intraperitoneal infection rescued splenic latency, but not reactivation. The 75A.stop virus also exhibited defective replication in primary fibroblast and macrophage cells. Viruses produced in the absence of ORF75A were characterized by an increase in the ratio of particles to PFU. In the next round of infection this led to the alteration of early events in lytic replication including the deposition of the ORF75C tegument protein, the accelerated kinetics of viral gene expression, and induction of TNFα release and cell death. Infecting cells to deliver equivalent genomes revealed that ORF75A was required for initiating early events in infection. In contrast with the numerous phenotypes observed in the absence of ORF75A, ORF75B was dispensable for replication and pathogenesis. These studies reveal that murine rhadinovirus vFGARAT family members ORF75A and ORF75C have evolved to perform divergent functions that promote replication and colonization of the host.