Na/HCO3 cotransporters (NBCs) such as NBCe1 are members of a superfamily of bicarbonate transporters that includes anion exchangers. Residues within putative transmembrane domain 8 (TMD8) of anion exchanger 1 are involved in ion translocation (Tang, X. B., Kovacs, M., Sterling, D., and Casey, J. R. (1999) J. Biol. Chem. 274, 3557-3564), and the corresponding domain in NBCe1 variants is highly homologous. We performed cysteine-scanning mutagenesis to examine the role of TMD8 residues in ion translocation by rat NBCe1-A. We accessed function and/or sulfhydryl sensitivity and p-chloromercuribenzene sulfonate (pCMBS) accessibility of 21 cysteine-substituted NBC mutants expressed in Xenopus oocytes using the two-electrode, voltage clamp technique. Five NBC mutants displayed <10% wild-type activity: P743C, A744C, L746C, D754C, and T758C. For the remaining 16 mutants, we compared transporter-mediated inward currents elicited by removing external Na+ before and after exposing oocytes to either 2-aminoethylmethane thiosulfonate (MTSEA) or pCMBS. MTSEA inhibited NBC mutants T748C, I749C, I751C, F752C, M753C, and Q756C by 9-19% and stimulated mutants A739C, A741C, L745C, V747C, Q755C, and I757C by 11-21%. pCMBS mildly inhibited mutants A739C, A740, V747C, and Q756C by 5 or 8%, and stimulated I749C by 10%. However, both sulfhydryl reagents strongly inhibited the L750C mutant by ≥85%. Using the substituted cysteine accessibility method, we examined the accessibility of the NBC mutant L750C under different transporter conditions. pCMBS accessibility is (i) reduced when the transporter is active in the presence of both Na+ and HCO3-, likely due to substrate competition with pCMBS; (ii) reduced in the presence of a stilbene inhibitor; and (iii) stimulated at more positive membrane potentials. In summary, TMD8 residues of NBCe1, particularly L750, are involved in ion translocation, and accessibility is influenced by the state of transporter activity. © 2006 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.