Muscle cells, cultured for 1–28 days from 11-day chick embryo breast muscles, often show elaborate, three-dimensional networks of a membranous system. The network consists of tubular units which are quite regularly arranged. The tubular units composing the network are accessible to ferritin particles suspended in the culture medium; this suggests continuity with the extracellular fluid. These networks can be regarded as a special morphological elaboration of the T-system tubules. Such network formations can be seen much more often in well-developed myotubes. The networks usually exhibit a hexagonal pattern, which is formed of tubular units of a constant diameter. However, some early myotubes contain tetragonal networks, which are composed of spherical pockets with channels of lesser diameter connecting the pockets. Networks are also observed which probably represent a transitional form between these two patterns. Myotubes show many inpocketings of the sarcolemma similar to what are commonly referred to as caveolae or micropinocytotic vesicles. The similarity in configuration and dimension of the tubular units of the network to the caveolae leads to the plausible suggestion that repeated caveola-formation from the sarcolemma or T-system tubule may result in formation of these networks. In this connection, a possible mechanism of the T-system tubule formation is discussed.

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