The participation of dendritic cells (DCs) in CD8+ T-cell-mediated allograft rejection is a long-standing question of great clinical relevance for tissue transplantation. Here, we show that Batf3-/- mice demonstrate delayed allo-skin graft rejection and are deficient in priming allo-specific CD8+ T cells. Batf3-/- mouse priming is restored by transferring either purified CD8α+ or CD103+ DCs, demonstrating the critical role of these cells in alloreactivity. Using Db -restricted antiviral F5 transgenic T-cell receptor T cells, which we demonstrate are alloreactive with H-2Kd , we show that cross-dressing of CD8α+ and CD103+ primes CD8+ T-cell or allo-specific responses in vitro and in vivo. These findings suggest novel strategies for moderating tissue rejection based on interfering with DC cross-dressing or subsequent interaction with T cells.