In the peritoneal cavity, the omentum contains fat-associated lymphoid clusters (FALCs) whose role in response to infection is poorly understood. After intraperitoneal immunization with
Toxoplasma gondii, conventional type 1 dendritic cells (cDC1s) were critical to induce innate sources of IFN-γ and cellular changes in the FALCs. Unexpectedly, infected peritoneal macrophages that migrated into the FALCs primed CD8 + T cells. Although T cell priming was cDC1 independent, these DCs were required for maximal CD8 + T cell expansion. An agent-based computational model and experimental data highlighted that cDC1s affected the magnitude of the proliferative burst and promoted CD8 + T cell expression of nutrient uptake receptors and cell survival. Thus, although FALCs lack the organization of secondary lymphoid organs, cDC1s resident in this tissue coordinate innate responses to microbial challenge and provide secondary signals required for T cell expansion and memory formation.