Heart muscle excitation-contraction (E-C) coupling is governed by Ca(2+) release units (CRUs) whereby Ca(2+) influx via L-type Ca(2+) channels (Cav1.2) triggers Ca(2+) release from juxtaposed Ca(2+) release channels (RyR2) located in junctional sarcoplasmic reticulum (jSR). Although studies suggest that the jSR protein triadin anchors cardiac calsequestrin (Casq2) to RyR2, its contribution to E-C coupling remains unclear. Here, we identify the role of triadin using mice with ablation of the Trdn gene (Trdn(-/-)). The structure and protein composition of the cardiac CRU is significantly altered in Trdn(-/-) hearts. jSR proteins (RyR2, Casq2, junctin, and junctophilin 1 and 2) are significantly reduced in Trdn(-/-) hearts, whereas Cav1.2 and SERCA2a remain unchanged. Electron microscopy shows fragmentation and an overall 50% reduction in the contacts between jSR and T-tubules. Immunolabeling experiments show reduced colocalization of Cav1.2 with RyR2 and substantial Casq2 labeling outside of the jSR in Trdn(-/-) myocytes. CRU function is impaired in Trdn(-/-) myocytes, with reduced SR Ca(2+) release and impaired negative feedback of SR Ca(2+) release on Cav1.2 Ca(2+) currents (I(Ca)). Uninhibited Ca(2+) influx via I(Ca) likely contributes to Ca(2+) overload and results in spontaneous SR Ca(2+) releases upon beta-adrenergic receptor stimulation with isoproterenol in Trdn(-/-) myocytes, and ventricular arrhythmias in Trdn(-/-) mice. We conclude that triadin is critically important for maintaining the structural and functional integrity of the cardiac CRU; triadin loss and the resulting alterations in CRU structure and protein composition impairs E-C coupling and renders hearts susceptible to ventricular arrhythmias.