1. Microsomes were isolated from rabbit fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle and were separated into heavy and light fractions by centrifugation in a linear (0.3–2m) sucrose density gradient. The membrane origin of microsomal vesicles was investigated by studying biochemical markers of the sarcoplasmic-reticulum membranes and of surface and T-tubular membranes, as well as their freeze-fracture properties. 2. Polyacrylamide-gel electrophoresis showed differences in the Ca2+-dependent ATPase/calsequestrin ratio between heavy and light fractions, which were apparently consistent with their respective origin from cisternal and longitudinal sarcoplasmic reticulum, as well as unrelated differences, such as peptides specific to slow-muscle microsomes (mol.wts. 76000, 60000, 56000 and 45000). 3. Freeze-fracture electron microscopy of muscle microsomes demonstrated that vesicles truly derived from the sarcoplasmic reticulum, with an average density of 9nm particles on the concave face of about 3000/μm2 for both fast and slow muscle, were admixed with vesicles with particle densities below 1000/μm2. 4. As determined in the light fractions, the sarcoplasmic-reticulum vesicles accounted for 84% and 57% of the total number of microsomal vesicles, for fast and slow muscle respectively. These values agreed closely with the percentage values of Ca2+-dependent ATPase protein obtained by gel densitometry. 5. The T-tubular origin of vesicles with a smooth concave fracture face in slow-muscle microsomes is supported by their relative high content in total phospholipid and cholesterol, compared with the microsomes of fast muscle, and by other correlative data, such as the presence of (Na++K+)-dependent ATPase activity and of low amounts of Na+-dependent membrane phosphorylation. 6. Among intrinsic sarcoplasmic-reticulum membrane proteins, a proteolipid of mol.wt. 12000 is shown to be identical in the microsomes of both fast and slow muscle and the Ca2+-dependent ATPase to be antigenically and catalytically different, though electrophoretically homogeneous. 7. Basal Mg2+-activated ATPase activity was found to be high in light microsomes from slow muscle, but its identification with an enzyme different from the Ca2+-dependent ATPase is still not conclusive. 8. Enzyme proteins that are suggested to be specific to slow-muscle longitudinal sarcoplasmic reticulum are the flavoprotėin NADH:cytochrome b5 reductase (mol.wt. 32000), cytochrome b5 (mol.wt. 17000) and the stearoyl-CoA desaturase, though essentially by criteria of plausibility.

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