The ultimate outcome of T cell receptor recognition is determined by the context in which the antigen is encountered. In this fashion both antigen-presenting cells and T cells must integrate multiple environmental cues in the form of pathogen-associated molecular patterns, cytokines and accessory molecule signals. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is an evolutionarily conserved serine/threonine kinase that plays a central role in integrating environmental signals critical to regulating metabolism and cell survival. In this paper we review the data demonstrating that mTOR integrates signals from the immune microenvironment and therefore facilitates the generation of the adaptive immune response. Specifically, we review the role of mTOR in promoting dendritic cell activation and maturation, in regulating full T cell activation versus anergy, and influencing the induction of regulatory T cells.