Dendritic cells (DC) are a heterogeneous family of cells that function as sentinels of the immune system. This article summarizes observations suggesting that inflammatory chemokines secreted at the site of pathogen invasion determine the DC subset recruited and influence the class of the immune response initiated. Langerhans cells are selectively recruited by MIP-3alpha/CCL20. In contrast, CCR7 ligands have a key role in the accumulation of antigen-loaded mature DC in T cell-rich areas of the draining lymph node. Improved understanding of the regulation of DC trafficking might offer new opportunities for therapeutic interventions to control immune responses.