A procedure has been devised for isolation of triads (t-tubule/sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) junctional complexes) from rabbit skeletal muscle. The procedure consists of preparation of a heavy microsomal fraction followed by two sequential 90-min sucrose gradient centrifugations to enrich the triads. A pyrophosphate/phosphate/magnesium buffer system was introduced to decrease aggregation in order to achieve effective separation. The preparation time is 12 h. Some differences between purified triads isolated by two variants of this method are noted. The purity of the triad fractions has been estimated by particle counting to be in the vicinity of 50%. There is good retention of morphology and Ca++-loading activity and enrichment in Na+,K+-ATPase and adenylate cyclase. The triads are practically devoid of contractile elements, mitochondria, and free plasmalemma, and low in content of light SR. The method for obtaining enriched triads is reproducible, and sufficient yields are obtained for structural, biochemical, and functional characterization.

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