NKG2D is a receptor on natural killer (NK) cells and cytotoxic T lymphocytes that binds major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I-like ligands expressed primarily on virally infected and neoplastic cells. In vitro studies indicate that NKG2D provides costimulation through an associated adapter, DAP10, which recruits phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase. Here we show that in DAP10-deficient mice, CD8+ T cells lack NKG2D expression and are incapable of mounting tumor-specific responses. However, DAP10-deficient NK cells express a functional NKG2D receptor due to the association of NKG2D with another adapter molecule, DAP12 (also known as KARAP), which recruits protein tyrosine kinases. Thus, NKG2D is a versatile receptor that, depending on the availability of adapter partners, mediates costimulation in T cells and/or activation in NK cells.