Measles virus (MV) infects dendritic cells (DCs) resulting in immunosuppression. Human DCs express two MV receptors: CD46 and human signaling lymphocyte activation molecule (hSLAM); thus, the role played by either alone is unclear. Because wild-type (wt) MV uses hSLAM receptor preferentially, we dissected the molecular basis of MV-DC interaction and resultant immunosuppression through the hSLAM receptor by creating transgenic (tg) mice expressing hSLAM on DCs. After infection with wt MV, murine splenic DCs expressing hSLAM receptor had less B7-1, B7-2, CD40, MHC class I, and MHC class II molecules on their surfaces and displayed an increased rate of apoptosis when compared to uninfected DCs. Further, MV-infected DCs failed to stimulate allogeneic T cells and inhibited mitogen-dependent T-cell proliferation. Individual expression of human SLAM, interferon alpha/beta receptor, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and lymphotoxin-alpha or beta from T cells was not required for MV-infected DCs to inhibit the proliferation of T cells.