Many secondary membrane transport systems contain reactive sulfhydryl groups. In this review the applications of SH reagents for analyzing the role of sulfhydryl groups in membrane transport systems will be discussed. First an overview will be given of the more important reagents, that have been used to study SH-groups in membrane transport systems, and examples will be given of transport proteins in which the role of cysteines have been analyzed. An important application of SH-reagents to label transport proteins using various SH-reagents modified with fluorescent- or spin-label moieties will be discussed. Two general models are shown which have been proposed to explain the role of sulfhydryl groups in some membrane transport systems.