The Drosophila transient receptor potential (trp) gene product (TRP) shows some structural similarity to vertebrate voltage-gated Ca2+ channels. It appears to function as a novel Ca2+ channel responsible for light stimulated, inositol trisphosphate (InsP3)-mediated Ca2+ entry in the fly retina. The subcellular localization of TRP protein was determined in this study using immunohistochemical staining with anti-TRP antibody (MAb83F6). TRP was localized to the base of the microvilli in a region adjacent to the presumed InsP3-sensitive Ca2+ stores. This specific localization was supported by measuring the magnitude of a TRP-dependent inward current that results from spontaneous activation of the light-sensitive channels during whole- cell recordings (the rundown current, RDC). We found that reduction of the microvilli area through genetic dissection with the opsin null mutant, ninaEora, was correlated with a pronounced enhancement of the TRP-dependent inward current relative to wild type, suggesting that the TRP-dependent current was not produced along the length of the microvilli. We suggest that the functional localization of the TRP protein is on the plasma membrane loop found along the base of the rhabdomeric microvillus. Thus, the TRP channel may function in concert with the InsP3-sensitive Ca2+ stores.