Six Caenorhabditis elegans genes that are homologous to the novel, cadmium-responsive gene cdr-1 have been identified and characterized. Nucleotide and amino acid sequence comparisons among the CDR family, which includes cdr-1, cdr-2, cdr-3, cdr-4, cdr-5, cdr-6, and cdr-7, reveals a high degree of identity among the seven members in this family. There are high levels of amino acid and nucleotide sequence similarity in the lengths of the open reading frames, predicted sizes, and protein characteristics. The seven proteins are predicted to be extremely hydrophobic, and are classified as integral membrane proteins. Structural analysis of the predicted proteins suggests that they may have similar biological functions. In response to cadmium exposure, cdr-1, cdr-2, cdr-3, and cdr-4 transcription significantly increases. In contrast, the levels of cdr-5, cdr-6, and cdr-7 transcription are not significantly affected or inhibited by cadmium exposure. Further, in non-exposed C. elegans, cdr-2, cdr-4, cdr-6, and cdr-7 are constitutively expressed. When CDR-1 expression was inhibited using RNAi, numerous fluid droplets were observed throughout the nematode body cavity. This phenotype became more pronounced in the presence of hypotonic stress. This suggests that CDR-1 may function in osmoregulation to maintain salt balance in C. elegans.