Dendritic cells (DCs) are essential in order to combat invading viruses and trigger antiviral responses. Paradoxically, in the case of HIV-1, DCs might contribute to viral pathogenesis through trans-infection, a mechanism that promotes viral capture and transmission to target cells, especially after DC maturation. In this review, we highlight recent evidence identifying sialyllactose-containing gangliosides in the viral membrane and the cellular lectin Siglec-1 as critical determinants for HIV-1 capture and storage by mature DCs and for DC-mediated trans-infection of T cells. In contrast, DC-SIGN, long considered to be the main receptor for DC capture of HIV-1, plays a minor role in mature DC-mediated HIV-1 capture and trans-infection. © 2014 Izquierdo-Useros et al.