Phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) generate lipids that control a wide variety of intracellular signalling pathways. Part of this diversity in PI3K actions stems from the broad range of protein effectors of the PI3K lipids. A further layer of complexity is added by the existence of multiple isoforms of PI3K. Gene-targeting studies in the mouse have recently uncovered key roles for specific PI3K isoforms in immunity, metabolism and cardiac function. Remarkably, some of these actions do not require PI3K catalytic activity. In addition, loss-of-expression of certain PI3K genes leads to increased PI3K signalling following insulin stimulation. PI3K gene targeting has, in many cases, led to altered expression of the non-targeted PI3K subunits, making it difficult to exclude that some of the reported phenotypes result from 'knock-on' effects of PI3K gene deletion. Targeting strategies that take into account the complex interplay between members of the PI3K family will be crucial to gain a full understanding of the physiological roles of the isoforms of PI3K.