Cell surface-bound receptors represent suitable entry sites for gene delivery into cells by receptor-mediated endocytosis. Here we have taken advantage of the mannose receptor that is highly expressed on antigen-presenting dendritic cells for targeted gene transfer by employing mannosylpolyethylenimine (ManPEI) conjugates. Several ManPEI conjugates were synthesized and used for formation of ManPEI/DNA transfection complexes. Conjugates differed in the linker between mannose and polyethylenimine (PEI) and in the size of the PEI moiety. We demonstrate that ManPEI transfection is effective in delivering DNA into mannose receptor-expressing cells. Uptake of ManPEI/DNA complexes is receptor-specific, since DNA delivery can be competed with mannosylated albumin. Additionally, incorporation of adenovirus particles into transfection complexes effectively enhances transgene expression. This is particularly important for primary immunocompetent dendritic cells. It is demonstrated here that dendritic cells transfected with ManPEI/DNA complexes containing adenovirus particles are effective in activating T cells of T cell receptor transgenic mice in an antigen-specific fashion.