Dendritic cells (DCs) are a special class of leukocytes able to activate both innate and adaptive immune responses. They interact with microbes through germline-encoded pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs), which recognize molecular patterns expressed by various microorganisms. Upon antigen binding, PRRs instruct DCs for the appropriate priming of natural killer cells, followed by specific T-cell responses. Once completed the effector phase, DCs reach the terminal differentiation stage and eventually die by apoptosis. We have observed that following lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulation the initiation of the apoptotic pathway in DCs is due the activation of NFAT proteins. Indeed, LPS induces Src-family kinase and phospholipase C (PLC)2 activation, influx of extracellular Ca2+ and calcineurin-dependent nuclear NFAT translocation. The initiation of this pathway is independent of TLR4 engagement, and dependent exclusively on CD14. According with this observation CD14-deficient DCs do not die following LPS stimulation. Nevertheless, CD14-deficient DC death following LPS activation can be restored by co-stimulating DCs with LPS and thapsigargin. Thapsigargin empties the intracellular calcium stores by blocking calcium pumping into the sarcoplasmic and endoplasmic reticulum and thereby activates plasma membrane calcium channels. This, in turn, allows an influx of calcium into the cytosol and NFAT activation. To identify the NFAT controlled apoptosis genes in LPS activated DCs we have performed a kinetic microarray analysis (0, 48 and 60 h) in conditions allowing or inhibiting NFAT activation. Four genes have been selected: Nur77, Gadd45g, Ddit3/Gadd153/Chop-10 and Tia1.