From the pioneering work of Mabel and Lowell Hokin in the 1950s, the biology of this specific isomer of hexahydroxycyclohexane and its phosphorylated derivatives, in the form of inositol phosphates and phosphoinositides, has expanded to fill virtually every corner of cell biology, whole-organism physiology and development. In the present paper, I give a personal view of the role played by phosphoinositides in regulating the function of the endosomal network, and, in so doing, highlight some of the basic properties through which phosphoinositides regulate cell function.

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