Maturation of dendritic cells (DC) is a key immunological process regulating immune responses to pathogens and vaccines, as well as tolerance and autoimmune processes. Consequently, the regulation of DC maturation should reflect these multifaceted immunological processes. In the present study, we have defined the role of particular cytokines, Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands and T lymphocytes in the porcine monocyte-derived DC (MoDC). Interferon-α (IFN-α) alone was a poor inducer of MoDC maturation, but in association with tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), or TLR ligands such as lipopolysaccharide and polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid I:C, an up-regulation of major histocompatibility complex II and CD80/86 expression was noted, along with reduced endocytic activity. In contrast, TNF-α alone or in combination with the TLR ligands was a poor inducer of DC maturation, but co-operated with T-lymphocytes in the presence of antigen to induce DC maturation. Natural interferon producing cells (NIPC, or plasmacytoid DCs) represent a danger-recognition system of the immune defences, and can respond to viruses not otherwise recognized as posing a danger. Indeed, MoDC did not respond to transmissible gastroenteritis virus (TGEV), whereas NIPC produced high levels of IFN-α and TNF-α after TGEV stimulation. Moreover, supernatants from the stimulated NIPC induced maturation in MoDCs. These matured MoDCs displayed an enhanced ability to present antigen to and thus stimulate T cells. Taken together, the present work demonstrates that maturation of MoDC not only results from TLR signalling, but can require co-operation with various cell types – principally NIPC and activated T cells – which would reflect the particular immunological situation.