The intestinal epithelium and underlying lamina propria contains large numbers of T cells that play an important role in maintaining intestinal homeostasis and defense against intestinal pathogens. Recent years have seen several significant advances in our understanding of the mechanisms regulating T-cell localization to the intestinal mucosa. For instance, we now know that the small intestine 'imprints' gut homing properties on T cells by inducing the expression of specific integrins and chemokine receptors. Further studies have identified distinct subsets of intestinal dendritic cells that use retinoic acid to generate both gut-tropic and regulatory T cells. As our understanding of the mechanisms regulating the generation of gut tropic T-cell populations evolves, the possibility of targeting these processes for mucosal vaccine development and treatment of intestinal immune pathology become more apparent.