Host defenses are profoundly compromised in HIV-infected hosts due to progressive depletion of CD4+ T lymphocytes. Moreover, deficient CD4+ T lymphocytes impair vaccination approaches to prevent opportunistic infection. Therefore, we investigated a CD4+ T cell-independent vaccine approach to a prototypic AIDS-defining infection, Pneumocystis carinii (PC) pneumonia. Here, we demonstrate that bone marrow-derived dendritic cells (DCs) expressing the murine CD40 ligand, when pulsed ex vivo by PC antigen, elicited significant titers of anti-PC IgG in CD4-deficient mice. Vaccinated animals demonstrated significant protection from PC infection, and this protection was the result of an effective humoral response, since adoptive transfer of CD4-depleted splenocytes or serum conferred this protection to CD4-deficient mice. Western blot analysis of PC antigen revealed that DC-vaccinated, CD4-deficient mice predominantly reacted to a 55-kDa PC antigen. These studies show promise for advances in CD4-independent vaccination against HIV-related pathogens.