The phosphoinositides are minor phospholipids present in all eukaryotic cells. They are storage forms for messenger molecules that transmit signals across the cell membrane and evoke responses to extracellular agonists. The phosphoinositides break down to liberate messenger molecules or precursors of messenger molecules. Many different compounds are formed, although the functions of only a few are understood. Recent studies elaborating the pathways for formation of products from phosphoinositides and the factors controlling their metabolism are summarized here.