Dendritic cells form a system of highly efficient antigen-presenting cells. After capturing antigen in the periphery, they migrate to lymphoid organs where they present the antigen to T cells. Their seemingly unique ability to interact with and sensitize naive T cells gives dendritic cells a central role in the initiation of immune responses and allows them to be used in therapeutic strategies against cancer, viral infection and other diseases. How they interact preferentially with naive rather than activated T lymphocytes is still poorly understood. Chemokines direct the transport of white blood cells in immune surveillance. Here we report the identification and characterization of a C-C chemokine (DC-CK1) that is specifically expressed by human dendritic cells at high levels. Tissue distribution analysis demonstrates that dendritic cells present in germinal centres and T-cell areas of secondary lymphoid organs express this chemokine. We show that DC-CK1, in contrast to RANTES, MIP-1alpha and interleukin-8, preferentially attracts naive T cells (CD45RA+). The specific expression of DC-CK1 by dendritic cells at the site of initiation of an immune response, combined with its chemotactic activity for naive T cells, suggests that DC-CK1 has an important rule in the induction of immune responses.