Interaction of T cell with antigen-bearing dendritic cells (DC) results in T cell activation, but whether this interaction has physiological consequences on DC function is largely unexplored. Here we show that when antigen-bearing DCs contact T cells, DCs initiate anti-pathogenic programs. Signals of this interaction are transmitted from the T cell to the DC, through extracellular vesicles (EV) that contain genomic and mitochondrial DNA, to induce antiviral responses via the cGAS/STING cytosolic DNA-sensing pathway and expression of IRF3-dependent interferon regulated genes. Moreover, EV-treated DCs are more resistant to subsequent viral infections. In summary, our results show that T cells prime DCs through the transfer of exosomal DNA, supporting a specific role for antigen-dependent contacts in conferring protection to DCs against pathogen infection. The reciprocal communication between innate and adaptive immune cells thus allow efficacious responses to unknown threats.