Calcium is a versatile multitarget intracellular second messenger in eukaryotic cells. In addition to calcium release from intracellular stores and influx via voltage- or ligand-operated channels, agonist-induced calcium entry constitutes one of the main pathways by which cytosolic calcium is elevated. Receptor-stimulated currents are initiated in response to agonist binding to G-protein-coupled receptors and to receptor tyrosine kinases. Within the past few years our knowledge about the molecular identity of receptor-stimulated channels has expanded substantially. Drosophila melanogaster visual transduction channels associated with the transient receptor potential (trp) and the trp-like (trpl) mutant visual phenotypes were the first members of this category of channels to be identified at the molecular level. Since then an entire mammalian gene family of TRP homologues has been discovered by homology cloning. Only now are we beginning to fully understand the functional roles of TRP channels in mammalian cells. We review recent findings in TRP channel research and discuss the role of these proteins for receptor-activated cation entry.