Background: We have recently cloned and characterized a novel gene family named ancient conserved domain protein (ACDP) in humans. To facilitate the functional study of this novel gene family, we have cloned and characterized Acdp, the mouse homologue of the human ACDP gene family. Results: The four Acdp genes (Acdp1, Acdp2, Acdp3 and Acdp4) contain 3,631 bp, 3,244 bp, 2,684 bp and 2,743 bp of cDNA sequences, and encode deduced proteins of 951, 874, 713 and 771 amino acids, respectively. The mouse Acdp genes showed very strong homologies (>90%) in both nucleotide and amino acid sequences to their human counterparts. In addition, both nucleotide and amino acid sequences within the Ancient Conserved Domain (ACD) are highly conserved in many different taxonomic species. Particularly, Acdp proteins showed very strong AA homologies to the bacteria CorC protein (35% AA identity with 55% homology), which is involved in magnesium and cobalt efflux. The Acdp genes are widely expressed in all tissues tested except for Acdp1, which is only highly expressed in the brain with low levels of expression in kidney and testis. Immunostaining of Acdp1 in hippocampus neurons revealed a predominant localization on the plasma membrane. Conclusion: The Acdp genes are evolutionarily conserved in diverse species and ubiquitously expressed throughout development and adult tissues suggesting that Acdp may be an essential gene. Acdp showed strong homology to bacteria CorC protein and predominantly localized on the plasma membrane. These results suggest that Acdp is probably a family of proteins involved in ion transport in mammalian cells. © 2004 Wang et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.