The membrane systems of skeletal muscle were examined after tannic acid fixation. A new structure consisting of bridges spanning the junctional gap is described, and a model is proposed in which the cytoplasmic but not the luminal membrane leaflets of the transverse tubule and of the junctional sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) are continuous. The globular particles (presumably the Ca-binding proteins) within the terminal cisternae were arranged in longitudinal rows and appeared adherent to the junctional membrane. The junctional gap was present in negatively stained, frozen thin sections of fixed muscles. Negatively staining material occured within the junctional gap. The cytoplasmic leaflets of the longitudinal, intermediate, and terminal cisterna regions of the SR exhibited a thick coat of densely staining material compatible with the presence of the Ca-ATPase. Similar bridges were also observed at the surface membrane-SR close coupling sites of vascular smooth muscle.

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