, Volume 85, Issue 3, pp 267-293

The Mystery of Oxygen Evolution: Analysis of Structure and Function of Photosystem II, the Water-Plastoquinone Oxido-Reductase

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Abstract

Photosystem II (PS II) of thylakoid membrane of photosynthetic organisms has drawn attention of researchers over the years because it is the only system on Earth that provides us with oxygen that we breathe. In the recent past, structure of PS II has been the focus of research in plant science. The report of X-ray crystallographic structure of PS II complex by the research groups of James Barber and So Iwata in UK (K.N. Ferreira et al. Science 303: 1831–38, 2004) is a milestone in the area of research in photosynthesis. It follows the pioneering and elegant work from the laboratories of Horst Witt and W. Saenger in Germany (A. Zouni et al. Nature 409: 739–743, 2001), and J. Shen in Japan (N. Kamiya and J. Shen, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 100: 98–103, 2003). It is time to analyze the historic events during the long journey made by the researchers to arrive at this point. This review makes an attempt to critically review the growth of the advancement of concepts and knowledge on the photosystem in the background of technological development. We conclude the review with perspectives on research and technology that should reveal the complete story of PS II of thylakoid in the future.