The spleen plays an important role in host-protective responses to bacteria. However, the cellular dynamics that lead to pathogen-specific immunity remain poorly understood. Here we examined Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) infection in the mouse spleen via in situ fluorescence microscopy. We found that the redistribution of Lm from the marginal zone (MZ) to the periarteriolar lymphoid sheath (PALS) was inhibited by pertussis toxin and required the presence of CD11c+ cells. As early as 9 hr after infection, we detected infected dendritic cells in the peripheral regions of the PALS and clustering of Lm-specific T cells by two-photon microscopy. Pertussis toxin inhibited both Lm entry into the PALS and antigen presentation to CD8+ T cells. Our study suggests that splenic dendritic cells rapidly deliver intracellular bacteria to the T cell areas of the white pulp to initiate CD8+ T cell responses.