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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1987 Mar;253(2):377-87.

Isolation of transverse tubules by fractionation of sarcoplasmic reticulum preparations in ion-free sucrose density gradients.


A new method for the preparation of transverse tubules (T-tubules) from rabbit skeletal muscles is reported. When crude sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) preparations were centrifuged on sucrose density gradients containing buffering ions (buffered gradients) 70-80% of the material sedimented as a single heavy band in the region of 43% sucrose. When this fraction (or crude SR) was recentrifuged on sucrose gradients prepared free of buffer or other ions (ion-free gradients) the heavy band dissociated into three fractions of different densities. The lightest fraction sedimented at 28% sucrose and was identified as T-tubules on the basis of its nitrendipine and ouabain binding properties. The enzymatic properties, cholesterol contents, and protein compositions of the fractions obtained when SR is centrifuged on buffered and ion-free sucrose density gradients were measured. The T-tubules were enriched in cholesterol and in marker enzymes for surface membranes while the other fractions were shown to be terminal cisternae and longitudinal cisternae on the basis of their (Ca2+,Mg2+)-ATPase activities and characteristic protein profiles.

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