The Popeye domain-containing gene family has been isolated on the basis of a subtractive screen aiming at the identification of novel genes with a heart-restricted gene expression pattern. The gene family codes for membrane proteins containing three transmembrane domains. The carboxy-terminal part of the protein is localized to the cytoplasm and contains a protein domain with high sequence conservation named the Popeye domain. This domain is involved in protein homo-dimerization. The gene family is expressed in heart and skeletal muscle cells as well as smooth muscle cells. In addition, Popdc genes are expressed in other cell types such as neuronal cells in restricted areas of the brain, spinal cord, and dorsal root ganglia, and in various epithelial cells. Recently, it has been proposed that Popdc proteins may function as a novel family of adhesion proteins. That the expression pattern has been conserved during evolution and is very similar in all vertebrate classes and also in basal chordates suggests that Popdc proteins play an important role in cardiac and skeletal muscle.