Phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PI4,5P2) is a key lipid signaling molecule that regulates a vast array of biological activities. PI4,5P2 can act directly as a messenger or can be utilized as a precursor to generate other messengers: inositol trisphosphate, diacylglycerol, or phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate. PI4,5P2 interacts with hundreds of different effector proteins. The enormous diversity of PI4,5P2 effector proteins and the spatio-temporal control of PI4,5P2 generation allow PI4,5P2 signaling to control a broad spectrum of cellular functions. PI4,5P2 is synthesized by phosphatidylinositol phosphate kinases (PIPKs). The array of PIPKs in cells enables their targeting to specific subcellular compartments through interactions with targeting factors that are often PI4,5P2 effectors. These interactions are a mechanism to define spatial and temporal PI4,5P2 synthesis and the specificity of PI4,5P2 signaling. In turn, the regulation of PI4,5P2 effectors at specific cellular compartments has implications for understanding how PI4,5P2 controls cellular processes and its role in diseases.