© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Tertiary lymphoid structures (TLOs), also known as ectopic lymphoid structures, are associated with chronic infections and inflammatory diseases. Despite their association with pathology, these structures are actually a normal, albeit transient, component of the immune system and facilitate local immune responses that are meant to mitigate inflammation and resolve infection. Many of the mechanisms controlling the formation and function of tertiary lymphoid structures have been identified, in part by experimentally triggering their formation using defined stimuli under controlled conditions. Here, we introduce the experimental and pathological conditions in which tertiary lymphoid tissues are formed, describe the mechanisms linked to their formation, and discuss their functions in the context of both infection and inflammation.