X-linked lymphoproliferative disease (XLP) is an inherited immunodeficiency, involving primarily T and natural killer (NK) cells, which in the majority of cases exacerbates following exposure to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Prior to EBV infection, most boys with the defective XLP gene appear to be clinically healthy EBV infection in males with the defective XLP gene leads to three main phenotypes: severe and mostly fatal infectious mononucleosis (58%), lymphoproliferative disorders mostly of B-cell origin (30%) and/or dysgammaglobulinemia (31%). Later in life, dysgammaglobulinemia and malignant lymphoma may also develop in about 53% and 56% of EBV-negative XLP males, respectively This fact suggests that EBV may only act as a potent trigger of the earliest and most serious clinical phenotype of XLP, i.e. fatal infectious mononucleosis. XLP has an unfavorable prognosis. Successful transplanta tion of hematopoietic stem cells can cure this immunodeficiency In the future, gene therapy may eventually become an additional option to prevent XLP. The gene responsible for XLP, SH2-domain containing gene 1A (SH2D1A) has recently been identified and sequenced. SH2D1A encodes a polypeptide of 128 amino acids containing a single SH2 domain. Until now, 45 different SH2D1A gene mutations have been identified in patients with XLP SH2D1A is thought to play an important role in signal transduction in T and NK cells. In vitro, SH2D1A has been shown to interact as an adaptor protein with the signaling pathways through SLAM, a T-cell co-stimulatory molecule, and 2B4, an NK-cell-activating receptor. Further functional studies of the SH2D1A protein will probably provide new insights into the pathogenesis of severe infectious mononucleosis, malignant lymphomas and immunodeficiency in patients with XLP.