< Back

Accounts of Chemical Research

The O2-Evolving Complex of Photosystem II: Recent Insights from Quantum Mechanics/Molecular Mechanics (QM/MM), Extended X-ray Absorption Fine Structure (EXAFS), and Femtosecond X-ray Crystallography Data

Authors: Mikhail Askerka; Gary W. Brudvig; Victor S. Batista

Publication Date: 2016-12-21  Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 41-48

When PSII in the S1 state is exposed to light, the S1 state is advanced to the higher oxidation states and eventually binds substrate water molecules. Identifying the substrate waters is of paramount importance for establishing the water-oxidation mechanism but is complicated by a large number of spectroscopically similar waters. Water analogues can, therefore, be helpful because they serve as spectroscopic markers that help to track the motion of the substrate waters. Due to a close structural and electronic similarity to water, ammonia has been of particular interest. We review three competing hypotheses on substrate water/ammonia binding and compile theoretical and experimental evidence to support them. Binding of ammonia as a sixth ligand to Mn4 during the S1 → S2 transition seems to satisfy most of the criteria, especially the most compelling recent EPR data on D1-D61A mutated PSII. Such a binding mode suggests delivery of water from the “narrow” channel through a “carousel” rearrangement of waters around Mn4 upon the S2 → S3 transition. An alternative hypothesis suggests water delivery through the “large” channel on the Ca side. However, both water delivery paths lead to a similar S3 structure, seemingly reaching consensus on the nature of the last detectable S-state intermediate in the Kok cycle before O2 evolution.  Read more