Phosphoinositide signalling systems exist in all eukaryotes. A high degree of evolutionary conservation is found at the functional level, but distinct phylogenetic differences are also becoming evident. Although the nuclear phosphoinositide system is likely to be a primordial forerunner of the plasma membrane system, relatively little is known about it. However, nuclear phosphoinositides might have far more diverse roles than hitherto envisaged and interact specifically with regulatory proteins containing phosphoinositide-binding domains. A novel family of proteins, so far only identified in plants, display domain structures that might link phosphoinositide metabolism to nuclear function in an unexpected way.