Oligodeoxynucleotides (ODN) that contain unmethylated CpG dinucleotides trigger a strong innate immune response in vertebrates. CpG ODN show promise as vaccine adjuvants, anti-allergens, and immunoprotective agents in animal models. Their transition to clinical use requires the identification of motifs that are optimally stimulatory in humans. Analysis of hundreds of novel ODN resulted in the identification and characterization of two structurally distinct "clusters" of immunostimulatory CpG ODN, One cluster ("D") preferentially stimulates IFN-gamma production by NK cells, whereas the other ("K") stimulates cell proliferation and the production of IL-6 and IgM by monocytes and B cells. The distinct immunostimulatory properties of K and D ODN can improve the design of CpG-based products to achieve specific: therapeutic goals.