The mammalian transient receptor potential (TRP) proteins consist of a superfamily of Ca2+-permeant non-selective cation channels with structural similarities to Drosophila TRP. The TRP superfamily can be divided into three major families, among them the "canonical TRP" family (TRPC). The seven protein products of the mammalian TRPC family of genes (designated TRPC1-7) share in common the activation through PLC-coupled receptors and have been proposed to encode components of native store-operated channels in different cell types. In addition, the three members of the TRPC3/6/7 subfamily of TRPC channels can be activated by diacylglycerol analogs, providing a possible mechanism of activation of these channels by PLC-coupled receptors. This review summarizes the current knowledge about the mechanism of activation of the TRPC3/6/7 subfamily, as well as the potential role of these proteins as components of native Ca2+-permeant channels.