The polyadenosine (poly(A)) tail found on the 3'-end of almost all eukaryotic mRNAs is important for mRNA stability and regulation of translation. mRNA 3'-end processing occurs co-transcriptionally and involves more than 20 proteins to specifically recognize the polyadenylation site, cleave the pre-mRNA, add a poly(A) tail, and trigger transcription termination. The polyadenylation site (PAS) defines the end of the 3'-untranslated region (3'-UTR) and, therefore, selection of the cleavage site is a critical event in regulating gene expression. Integrated structural biology approaches including biochemical reconstitution of multi-subunit complexes, cross-linking mass spectrometry, and structural analyses by X- ray crystallography and single-particle electron cryo-microscopy (cryoEM) have enabled recent progress in understanding the molecular mechanisms of the mRNA 3'-end processing machinery. Here, we describe new molecular insights into pre-mRNA recognition, cleavage and polyadenylation.