Summary: Our improved understanding of how innate immune responses can be initiated and how they can shape adaptive B- and T-cell responses is having a significant impact on vaccine development by directing the development of defined adjuvants. Experience with first generation vaccines, as well as rapid advances in developing defined vaccines containing Toll-like receptor ligands (TLRLs), indicate that an expanded number of safe and effective vaccines containing such molecules will be available in the future. In this review, we outline current knowledge regarding TLRs, detailing the different cell types that express TLRs, the various signaling pathways TLRs utilize, and the currently known TLRLs. We then discuss the current status of TLRLs within vaccine development programs, including the importance of appropriate formulation, and how recent developments can be used to better define the mechanisms of action of vaccines. Finally, we introduce the possibility of using TLRLs, either in combination or with non-TLRLs, to synergistically potentiate vaccine-induced responses to provide not only prophylactic, but therapeutic protection against infectious diseases and cancer.