The anion/cation symporter (ACS) family is a large subfamily of the major facilitator superfamily (MFS) of transporters. ACS family permeases are widely distributed in nature and transport either organic or inorganic anions in response to chemiosmotic cation gradients. The only protein in the ACS family to which a human disease has been linked, is sialin, the proton-driven lysosomal carrier for sialic acid. Genetic defects in sialin cause a lysosomal storage disease in humans. Here we have identified a group of conserved Drosophila ACS family genes related to sialin and studied their expression patterns throughout embryogenesis. Drosophila sialin-related genes are expressed in a wide variety of tissues. Expression is frequently observed throughout various parts of the intestinal tract, including Malpighian tubules and salivary glands. Additionally, some genes are expressed in vitellophages (yolk nuclei), nervous system, respiratory tract and a number of other embryonic tissues. These data will aid the establishment of a fruitfly model of human lysosomal storage disorders, the most common cause of neurodegeneration in childhood. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.