Respiratory dendritic cells (RDC) are believed to play a central role in the induction of adaptive immune responses to pulmonary infection. Herein we examine the basal migration of RDC from the lungs to secondary lymphoid tissues and their enhanced maturation/migration after pulmonary infection/inflammation. We demonstrate that the accelerated migration of RDC to the draining peribronchial lymph nodes occurs only during the first 24 hr after pulmonary virus infection. RDC are refractory to further migration thereafter in spite of ongoing virus replication and pulmonary inflammation. We further demonstrate that induction of this RDC refractory state suppresses additional RDC mobilization to subsequent pulmonary virus infection and results in concomitant suppression of an antiviral pulmonary CD8(+) T cell response.