Dyads (transverse tubule--junctional sarcoplasmic reticulum complexes) were enriched from rat ventricle microsomes by continuous sucrose gradients. The major vesicle peak at 36% sucrose contained up to 90% of those membranes which possessed dihydropyridine (DHP) binding sites (markers for transverse tubules) and all membranes which possessed ryanodine receptors and the putative junctional foot protein (markers for junctional sarcoplasmic reticulum). In addition, the 36% sucrose peak contained half of the vesicles with muscarine receptors. Vesicles derived from the nonjunctional plasma membrane as defined by a low content of dihydropyridine binding sites per muscarine receptor and from the free sarcoplasmic reticulum as defined by the M(r) 102K Ca2+ ATPase were associated with a diffuse protein band (22-30% sucrose) in the lighter region of the gradient. These organelles were recovered in low yield. Putative dyads were not broken by French press treatment at 8,000 psi and only partially disrupted at 14,000 psi. The monoclonal antibody GE4.90 against skeletal muscle triadin, a protein which links the DHP receptor to the junctional foot protein in skeletal muscle triad junctions, cross-reacted with a protein in rat dyads of the same M(r) as triadin. Western blots of muscle microsomes from preparations which had been treated with 100 mM iodoacetamide throughout the isolation procedure showed that cardiac triadin consisted predominantly of a band of M(r) 95 kD. Higher molecular weight polymers were detectable but low in content, in contrast with the ladder of oligomeric forms in rat psoas muscle microsomes. Cardiac triadin was not dissolved from the microsomes by hypertonic salt or Triton X-100, indicating that it, as well as skeletal muscle triadin, was an integral protein of the junctional SR. The cardiac epitope was localized to the junctional SR by comparison of its distribution with that of organelle markers in both total microsome and in French press disrupted dyad preparations. Immunofluorescence localization of triadin using mAb GE4.90 revealed that intact rat ventricular muscle tissue was stained following a well-defined pattern of bands every sarcomere. This spacing of bands was consistent with the interpretation that triadin was present in the dyadic junctional regions.