The pharmaceutical industry has recently focused on intracellular signaling as a means to integrate the multiple facets of complex disease states, such as inflammation, because these pathways respond to numerous extracellular signals and coordinate a collection of cell responses contributing to pathology. One critical aspect of intracellular signaling is regulation of key cell functions by lipid mediators, in particular the generation of a key mediator, phosphatidic acid (PA) via the hydrolysis of phosphatidylcholine by phospholipase D (PLD). Research in this field has intensified, due in part to the recent cloning and partial characterization of the two PLD isoforms in mammalian cells, and this work has contributed significantly to our understanding of events downstream of PA generation. It is these effector functions of PLD activity that make this pathway attractive as a therapeutic target while the biochemical properties of the PLD isozymes make them amenable to small molecule intervention. Recent studies indicate that PA, and its immediate metabolites diacylglycerol and lyso-PA, affect numerous cellular pathways including ligand-mediated secretion, cytoskeletal reorganisations, respiratory burst, prostaglandin release, cell migration, cytokine release, and mitogenesis. This review summarises the data implicating signaling via PLD in these cell functions, obtained from: (i) molecular analyses of PLD / effector interactions, (ii) correlation between PA production and cell responses, (iii) experimental manipulation of PA levels, (iv) inhibition of PLD regulators, and (v) direct inhibition of PA production. The utility of targeting PLD signaling for the treatment of acute/chronic inflammation and other indications is discussed in light of these data.