Host defense against microbial pathogens relies on the concerted action of both innate immunity and antigen-specific adaptive immunity. Key features of the innate immune system include the ability to rapidly recognize pathogens and to signal the presence of danger to cells of the adaptive immune system. Dendritic cells (DCs) are unique antigen presenting cells that are able to recognize and respond to pathogens and inflammation, and then contribute to the initiation and regulation of T cell responses. DCs consist of different subpopulations but their role in immunity to pathogens and immune evasion is largely unclear. Therefore, elucidating the role of different DC subpopulations, their basic function in immune activation upon bacterial infectionsand inflammation and how bacterial pathogens may disturb this process will not only contribute to increase the basic understanding of DC function upon bacterial infections and inflammation, but also elucidate the potential of DCs as target for therapeutic intervention.