Alpha/beta interferons (IFN-alpha/beta) are key mediators of innate immunity and important modulators of adaptive immunity. The mechanisms by which IFN-alpha/beta are induced are becoming increasingly well understood. Recent studies showed that Toll-like receptors 7 and 8 expressed by plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) mediate the endosomal recognition of incoming viral RNA genomes, a process which requires myeloid differentiation factor 88 (MyD88). Here we investigate the requirements for virus-induced IFN-alpha/beta production in cultures of bone marrow-derived murine myeloid DCs (mDCs). Using recombinant Semliki Forest virus blocked at different steps in the viral life cycle, we show that replication-defective virus induced IFN-alpha/beta in mDCs while fusion-defective virus did not induce IFN-alpha/beta. The response to replication-defective virus was largely intact in MyD88-/- mDC cultures but was severely reduced in mDC cultures from mice lacking IFN regulatory factor 3. Our observations suggest that mDCs respond to incoming virus via a pathway that differs from the fusion-independent, MyD88-mediated endosomal pathway described for the induction of IFN-alpha/beta in pDCs. We propose that events during or downstream of viral fusion, but prior to replication, can activate IFN-alpha/beta in mDCs. Thus, mDCs may contribute to the antiviral response activated by the immune system at early time points after infection.