TRPC5 [TRP (transient receptor potential) canonical (or classical) 5] is a widely expressed mammalian homologue of Drosophila TRP, forming a calcium- and sodium-permeable channel in the plasma membrane either as a homomultimer or heteromultimer with other proteins (e.g. TRPC1). Although several factors are known to stimulate the channel, understanding of its endogenous activators and functions is limited. This paper provides a brief and focused review of our latest findings that show that TRPC5 is a sensor of important signalling phospholipids, including lysophosphatidylcholine and sphingosine 1-phosphate, acting extracellularly or intracellularly. Underlying mechanisms of action and biological relevance are discussed.

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