Living muscle fibers of crayfish become dark during efflux of Cl-. This change in appearance is correlated with occurrence of vacuolation in the fixed fibers. The vacuoles begin at and are mainly confined to the terminals of the transverse tubular system (TTS) which are in diadic contact with the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). In electron micrographs swellings more than 1 µ in diameter may be seen connected to the sarcolemma or sarcolemmal invaginations by relatively unswollen tubules about 300–500 A wide. Darkening of the living fibers can be reversed by causing an influx of Cl-. Vacuoles are then absent in the fixed preparations. These findings accord with the conclusion that the membrane of the TTS is anion permselective. Localization of the selectivity to the membrane of the terminals of the TTS strengthens the hypothesis that a channeling of current flow is responsible for initiation of excitation-contraction coupling. During the swelling, and upon its reversal, the area of the membrane of the terminals must change reversibly by about two to four orders of magnitude. The absence of changes in the dimensions of the unit membrane indicates that the expansion of the membrane and its subsequent shrinkage involve reversible incorporation of cytoplasmic material into the membrane phase.

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