PtdIns3P is a phosphoinositide 3-kinase product that has been strongly implicated in regulating membrane trafficking in both mammalian and yeast cells. PtdIns3P has been shown to be specifically located on membranes associated with the endocytic pathway. Proteins that contain FYVE zinc-finger domains are recruited to PtdIns3P-containing membranes. Structural information is now available concerning the interaction between FYVE domains and PtdIns3P. A number of proteins have been identified which contain a FYVE domain, and in this review we discuss the functions of PtdIns3P and its FYVE-domain-containing effector proteins in membrane trafficking, cytoskeletal regulation and receptor signalling.