Nucleic acid recognition upon viral infection triggers type I interferon production. Viral RNA is detected by both endosomal, TLR-dependent and cytosolic, RIG-I/MDA5-dependent pathways. TLR9 is the only known sensor of foreign DNA; it is unknown whether innate immune recognition of DNA exists in the cytosol. Here we present evidence that cytosolic DNA activates a potent type I interferon response to the invasive bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. The noninvasive Legionella pneumophila triggers an identical response through its type IV secretion system. Activation of type I interferons by cytosolic DNA is TLR independent and requires IRF3 but occurs without detectable activation of NF-kappaB and MAP kinases. Microarray analyses reveal a unique but overlapping gene-expression program activated by cytosolic DNA compared to TLR9- and RIG-I/MDA5-dependent responses. These findings define an innate immune response to DNA linked to type I interferon production.