The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) is a member of the traffic ATPase family that includes multiple proteins characterized by (1) ATP binding, (2) conserved transmembrane (TM) motifs and nucleotide binding domains (NBDs), and (3) molecular transport of small molecules across the cell membrane. While CFrR NBD-1 mediates ATP binding and hydrolysis, the membrane topology and function of this domain in living eukaryotic cells remains uncertain. In these studies, we have expressed wild- type CFTR NBD-1 (amino acids 433-586) or NBD-1 containing the ΔF508 mutation transiently in COS-7 cells and established that the domain is situated across the plasma membrane by four independent assays; namely, extracellular chymotrypsin digestion, surface protein biotinylation, confocal immunofluorescent microscopy, and functional measurements of cell membrane anion permeability. Functional studies indicate that basal halide permeability is enhanced above control conditions following wild-type or ΔF508 NBD-1 expression in three different epithelial cell lines. Furthermore, when clinically relevant CFTR proteins truncated within NBD-1 (R553X or G542X) are expressed, surface localization and enhanced halide permeability are again established. Together, these findings suggest that isolated CFTR NBD-1 (with or without the ΔF508 mutation) is capable of targeting the epithelial cell membrane and enhancing cellular halide permeability. Furthermore, CFTR truncated at position 553 or 542 and possessing the majority of NBD-1 demonstrates surface localization and also confers increased halide permeability. These findings indicate that targeting to the plasma membrane and assumption of a transmembrane configuration are innate properties of the CFTR NBD-1. The results also support the notion that components of the halide-selective pore of CFTR reside within NBD-1.