Na+/K+-ATPase, Na+/K+/2Cl- cotransporter (NKCC) and cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) are the three major transport proteins thought to be involved in chloride secretion in teleost fish. If this is the case, the levels of these transporters should be high in chloride cells of seawater-acclimated fish. We therefore examined the influence of salinity on immunolocalization of Na +/K+-ATPase, NKCC and CFTR in the gills of the Hawaiian goby (Stenogobius hawaiiensis). Fish were acclimated to freshwater and 20??? and 30??? seawater for 10 days. Na+/K +-ATPase and NKCC were localized specifically to chloride cells and stained throughout most of the cell except for the nucleus and the most apical region, indicating a basolateral/tubular distribution. All Na+/K +-ATPase-positive chloride cells were also positive for NKCC in all salinities. Salinity caused a slight increase in chloride cell number and size and a slight decrease in staining intensity for Na+/K +-ATPase and NKCC, but the basic pattern of localization was not altered. Gill Na+/K+-ATPase activity was also not affected by salinity. CFTR was localized to the apical surface of chloride cells, and only cells staining positive for Na+/K+-ATPase were CFTR-positive. CFTR-positive cells greatly increased in number (5-fold), area stained (53%) and intensity (29%) after seawater acclimation. In freshwater, CFTR immunoreactivity was light and occurred over a broad apical surface on chloride cells, whereas in seawater there was intense immunoreactivity around the apical pit (which was often punctate in appearance) and a light subapical staining. The results indicate that Na+/K +-ATPase, NKCC and CFTR are all present in chloride cells and support current models that all three are responsible for chloride secretion by chloride cells of teleost fish.