We have investigated the localization of thrombospondin (TSP), fibrinogen, fibronectin, and von Willebrand factor in human platelets by transmission electron microscopy of antibody-stained ultrathin frozen sections. In negatively stained thin sections, alpha granules were identified on the basis of their smooth, roughly spherical shape, size, single limiting electron-lucent 100 A membrane, and frequent presence of electron-dense nucleoid. In contrast, mitochondria exhibited characteristic double membranes and cristae. Sections were separately stained with affinity-purified polyclonal antibodies to these proteins as well as with three monoclonal anti-TSP antibodies. Antibody specificity was documented in radioimmunoassays, by immunofluorescent cross-blocking, and by staining of bands of appropriate mobility in Western blots of whole platelets. Bound antibody was visualized using a 5-nm colloidal gold-avidin conjugate. In resting cells, staining of virtually all alpha granules was observed for all four proteins. In contrast, consistent staining was absent from other organelles, including plasma membranes, mitochondria, and vacuolar structures that may represent the open canalicular system.