This work aims to further characterize the newly described leukemic plasmacytoid dendritic cells (LPDC), for which we had previously demonstrated their normal, PDC-like ability to produce IFN-alpha. In addition, LPDC also express the specific antigens BDCA-2 and BDCA-4. Importantly, they become fully competent antigen-presenting cells (APC) after a short maturation induced by IL-3 + CD40L or virus, exhibiting a characteristic APC phenotype (high expression of CD83 and of the costimulatory molecules CD40, CD80, CD86). Whereas IL-3 + CD40L-activated LPDC prime naive CD4(+) T cells towards a Th2 pathway (IL-4-secreting T cells), virus-activated LPDC drive a Th1 profile (IFN-gamma-secreting T cells). Moreover, we show in one case that LPDC are able to capture, process and present exogenous antigens, leading to the activation of both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cell clones in an antigen-specific manner. This study further characterizes the phenotype and immunological functions of LPDC.