Replicon plasmids encoding an alphavirus RNA replicase constitute an alternative to conventional DNA plasmids with promise for DNA vaccination in humans. Replicase activity amplifies the levels of transgene mRNA through a copying process involving double-stranded (ds) RNA intermediates, which contribute to vaccine immunogenicity by activating innate antiviral responses. Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) is a dsRNA innate immune receptor expressed by antigen-presenting dendritic cells (DCs). Here, we test the hypothesis that TLR3 is necessary for the immunogenicity of replicon plasmid-based DNA vaccines. We show that mouse CD8 alpha(+) DC phagocytose dying replicon plasmid-transfected cells in vitro and are activated in a TLR3-dependent manner by dsRNA present within those cells. However, we find that cytotoxic T-cell responses to a replicon plasmid intramuscular vaccine are not diminished in the absence of TLR3 in vivo. Our results underscore the potential role of TLR3 in mediating immune activation by dsRNA-bearing replicon plasmid-transfected cells and indicate that other innate sensing pathways can compensate for TLR3 absence in vivo.