This review provides an overview of the most significant strategies developed in recent years for the preparation of donor-functionalized phosphinines and new developments in this field are highlighted. Selected synthetic procedures for the introduction of additional sulfur-, oxygen-, phosphorus-, and nitrogen-donor groups into the heterocyclic framework are presented. Examples of their coordination chemistry and potential applications in homogeneous catalysis and phosphorus containing molecular materials will be given. (C) 2010 Academie des sciences. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.