Myeloid leukemia factor (MLF) plays an important role in development, cell cycle, myeloid differentiation, and regulates the RUNX transcription factors. However, the function of MLF in immunity is still unclear. In this study, an MLF was identified and characterized in kuruma shrimp Marsupenaeus japonicus, and named as MjMLF. The full-length cDNA of MjMLF contained 1111 nucleotides, which had an opening reading frame of 816 bp encoding a protein of 272 amino acids with an MLF1-interacting protein domain. MjMLF could be ubiquitously detected in different tissues of shrimp at the transcriptional level. The expression pattern analysis showed that MjMLF could be upregulated in shrimp hemocytes and hepatopancreas after white spot syndrome virus challenge. The RNA interference and protein injection assay showed that MjMLF could inhibit WSSV replication in vivo. Flow cytometry assay showed that MjMLF could induce hemocytes apoptosis which functioned in the shrimp antiviral reaction. All the results suggested that MjMLF played an important role in the antiviral immune reaction of kuruma shrimp. The research indicated that MjMLF might function as a novel regulator to inhibit WSSV replication in shrimp.