Tannic acid mordanting during fixation of isolated vesicles from skeletal muscle enhanced the resolution of the images. Isolated triadic junctions displayed two characteristic features not previously described: (a) a clear gap separated terminal cisternae from transverse tubules; (b) this gap was bridged by a separating array of structures which resembled the "feet" of intact muscle. When the triad was broken in a French press and subsequently reassembled by joining the two organelles, a similar gap was seen but the structure of the feet was less well defined. When the membrane of the triad was extracted by Triton X-100, the junctional region was retained and a similar gap between the two organelles could be discerned. The terminal cisternae characteristically displayed a thickening of the cytoplasmic leaflet of the membrane in select areas in which electron-dense material was apposed on the luminal leaflet. This thickened membrane was not observed in longitudinal reticulum or in terminal cisternae regions distal to the electron-dense matter. This thickened leaflet was not invariably associated with the junction, and some junctional regions did not display discernible thickening of the membrane. When the triad was treated with KCl, the electron-dense aggregate was dispersed and the thickened leaflet of the terminal cisternae dissipated, whereas the triadic junctional region with its feet remained unchanged. KCl treatment caused dissolution of three proteins of Mr = 77,000, 43,000, and 38,000. Treatment of Triton-resistant vesicles with KCl caused the loss of electron-dense aggregate but did not otherwise influence the appearance of the junction. A good degree of correlation both qualitatively and in quantitative parameters between the isolated vesicles and the intact muscle was observed.

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