Lymphocytes can be functionally partitioned into subsets belonging to the innate or adaptive arms of the immune system. Subsets of innate and innate-like lymphocytes may or may not express Ag-specific receptors of the adaptive immune system, yet they are poised to respond with innate-like speed to pathogenic insults but lack the capacity to develop classical immunological memory. These lymphocyte subsets display a number of common properties that permit them to integrate danger and stress signals dispatched by innate sensor cells to facilitate the generation of specialized effector immune responses tailored toward specific pathogens or other insults. In this review, we discuss the functions of distinct subsets of innate and innate-like lymphocytes. A better understanding of the mechanisms by which these cells are activated in different contexts, their interactions with other immune cells, and their role in health and disease may inform the development of new or improved immunotherapies.

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