Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) can be activated by the endosomal TLRs, and contribute to the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) by producing type I IFNs. Thus, blocking TLR-mediated pDC activation may represent a useful approach for the treatment of SLE. In an attempt to identify a therapeutic target for blocking TLR signaling in pDCs, we investigated the contribution of Bruton's tyrosine kinase (Btk) to the activation of pDCs by TLR7 and TLR9 stimulation by using a selective Btk inhibitor RN486. Stimulation of TLR7 and 9 with their respective agonist, namely, gardiquimod and type A CpG ODN2216, resulted in the activation of human pDCs, as demonstrated by the expression of activation markers (CD69, CD40, and CD86), elevated production of IFN-alpha and other inflammatory cytokines, as well as up-regulation of numerous genes including IFN-alpha-inducible genes and activation of interferon regulatory factor 7 (IRF7) and NF-kB. RN486 inhibited all of these events induced by TLR9, but not TLR7 stimulation, with a nanomolar potency for inhibiting type A CpG ODN2216-mediated production of cytokines (e.g., IC50=386 nM for inhibiting IFN-alpha). Our data reveal Btk as an important regulatory enzyme in the TLR9 pathway, and a potential therapeutic target for SLE and other TLR-driven diseases.