The highly conserved VICKZ (Vg1 RBP/Vera, IMP-1,2,3, CRD-BP, KOC, ZBP-1) family of RNA-binding proteins recognize specific cis-acting elements in a variety of different RNAs and have been implicated in cell polarity and migration, cell proliferation, and cancer. In just the last two years, the use of transgenic mice, antisense RNA, and RNAi (RNA interference) techniques have contributed to our understanding of the roles of these proteins and how they interface with many diverse processes in cells. In this article, I will review the recent advances relating to VICKZ proteins and try to suggest a framework for understanding how, in conjunction with other RNA-binding proteins, they participate in a combinatorial fashion to help determine the fate of their RNA targets and, ultimately, the function of cells in which they are expressed. Such a 'post-transcriptional operon' model, as proposed by Keene and Tenenbaum [(2002) Mol. Cell 9, 1161-1167], can explain the differential, integrated action of multiple RNA-binding proteins on mRNA targets.