Dendritic cells are extremely potent antigen-presenting cells that are primarily responsible for the sensitization of naïve T cells to protein antigen in vivo. For this reason, dendritic cells are the focus of intense study. Despite this interest, relatively little information is available on the signal transduction pathways that regulate the development and activity of these cells. The last several years, however, have seen a steady accumulation of data regarding methods to cultivate large numbers of DC, the characterization of attendant signals that drive DC development from various precursor cells, and the induction of nuclear transcription factors that presumably direct alterations in gene expression that regulate aspects of DC development. In this review, we briefly summarize some of these findings, with emphasis on monocyte-derived dendritic cells and a discussion of two distinct types of signaling pathways that appear to regulate the final maturation of DC: one pathway calcium-dependent and cyclosporine A-sensitive, the other pathway CsA-insensitive. Although evidence suggests these signaling pathways are quite divergent in their upstream components, they both appear to activate NF-kappaB nuclear factors, particularly RelB.