The full-length transient receptor (TRPC)1 polypeptide is composed of about 790 amino acids, and several splice variants are known. The predicted structure and topology is of an integral membrane protein composed of six transmembrane domains, and a cytoplasmic C- and N-terminal domain. The N-terminal domain includes three ankyrin repeat motifs. Antibodies which recognise TRPC1 have been developed, but it has been difficult to obtain antibodies which have high affinity and specificity for TRPC1. This has made studies of the cellular functions of TRPC1 somewhat difficult. The TRPC1 protein is widely expressed in different types of animal cells, and within a given cell is found at the plasma membrane and at intracellular sites. TRPC1 interacts with calmodulin, caveolin-1, the InsP3 receptor, Homer, phospholipase C and several other proteins. Investigations of the biological roles and mechanisms of action of TRPC1 have employed ectopic (over-expression or heterologous expression) of the polypeptide in addition to studies of endogenous TRPC1. Both approaches have encountered difficulties. TRPC1 forms heterotetramers with other TRPC polypeptides resulting in cation channels which are non-selective. TRPC1 may be: a component of the pore of store-operated Ca2+ channels (SOCs); a subsidiary protein in the pathway of activation of SOCs; activated by interaction with InsP3R; and/or activated by stretch. Further experiments are required to resolve the exact roles and mechanisms of activation of TRPC1. Cation entry through the TRPC1 channel is feed-back inhibited by Ca2+ through interaction with calmodulin, and is inhibited by Gd 3+, La3+, SKF96365 and 2-APB, and by antibodies targeted to the external mouth of the TRPC1 pore. Activation of TRPC1 leads to the entry to the cytoplasmic space of substantial amounts of Na+ as well as Ca2+. A requirement for TRPC1 is implicated in numerous downstream cellular pathways. The most clearly described roles are in the regulation of growth cone turning in neurons. It is concluded that TRPC1 is a most interesting protein because of the apparent wide variety of its roles and functions and the challenges posed to those attempting to elucidate its primary intracellular functions and mechanisms of action.