Both metazoan parasites and simple protein allergens induce T helper type 2 (TH2) immune responses, but the mechanisms by which the innate immune system senses these stimuli are unknown. In addition, the cellular source of cytokines that control TH2 differentiation in vivo has not been defined. Here we showed that basophils were activated and recruited to the draining lymph nodes specifically in response to TH2-inducing allergen challenge. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the basophil was the accessory cell type required for TH2 induction in response to protease allergens. Finally, we show that basophils were directly activated by protease allergens and produced TH2-inducing cytokines, including interleukin 4 and thymic stromal lymphopoietin, which are involved in TH2 differentiation in vivo.