Ribonuclease E (RNase E) is a component of the Escherichia coli RNA degradosome, a multiprotein complex that also includes RNA helicase B (RhlB), polynucleotide phosphorylase (PNPase) and enolase. The degradosome plays a key role in RNA processing and degradation. The degradosomal proteins are organized as a cytoskeletal-like structure within the cell that has been thought to be associated with the cytoplasmic membrane. The article by Khemici et al. in the current issue of Molecular Microbiology reports that RNase E can directly interact with membrane phospholipids in vitro. The RNase E–membrane interaction is likely to play an important role in the membrane association of the degradosome system. These findings shed light on important but largely unexplored aspects of cellular structure and function, including the organization of the RNA processing machinery of the cell and of bacterial cytoskeletal elements in general.