The C-type lectin dendritic cell (DC)-specific intercellular adhesion molecule grabbing non-integrin (DC-SIGN; CD209) facilitates binding and internalization of several viruses, including HIV-1, on DCs, but the underlying mechanism for being such an efficient phagocytic pathogen-recognition receptor is poorly understood. By high resolution electron microscopy, we demonstrate a direct relation between DC-SIGN function as viral receptor and its microlocalization on the plasma membrane. During development of human monocyte-derived DCs, DC-SIGN becomes organized in well-defined microdomains, with an average diameter of 200 nm. Biochemical experiments and confocal microscopy indicate that DC-SIGN microdomains reside within lipid rafts. Finally, we show that the organization of DC-SIGN in microdomains on the plasma membrane is important for binding and internalization of virus particles, suggesting that these multimolecular assemblies of DC-SIGN act as a docking site for pathogens like HIV-1 to invade the host.