Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) are a unique subset of dendritic cells specialised in secreting high levels of type I interferons. pDCs play a crucial role in antiviral immunity and have been implicated in the initiation and development of many autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. This review summarises the latest advances in recent years in several aspects of pDC biology, with special focus on pDC heterogeneity, pDC development via the lymphoid pathway, and newly identified proteins/pathways involved in pDC trafficking, nucleic acid sensing and interferon production. Finally, we also highlight the current understanding of pDC involvement in autoimmunity and alloreactivity, and opportunities for pDC-targeting therapies in these diseases. These new insights have contributed to answers to several fundamental questions remaining in pDC biology and may pave the way to successful pDC-targeting therapy in the future.