DNAX accessory molecule-1 (DNAM-1, also known as CD226) is an activating receptor expressed on subsets of natural killer (NK) and T cells, interacts with its ligands CD155 or CD112, and has co-varied expression with inhibitory receptors. Since inhibitory receptors control NK-cell activation and are necessary for MHC-I-dependent education, we investigated whether DNAM-1 expression is also involved in NK-cell education. Here we show an MHC-I-dependent correlation between DNAM-1 expression and NK-cell education, and an association between DNAM-1 and NKG2A that occurs even in MHC class I deficient mice. DNAM-1 is expressed early during NK-cell development, precedes the expression of MHC-I-specific inhibitory receptors, and is modulated in an education-dependent fashion. Cd226 â '/â ' mice have missing self-responses and NK cells with a normal receptor repertoire. We propose a model in which NK-cell education prevents or delays downregulation of DNAM-1. This molecule endows educated NK cells with enhanced effector functions but is dispensable for education.