, Volume 91, Issue 1, pp 59-69
Date: 06 Feb 2007

Light-induced FTIR difference spectroscopy as a powerful tool toward understanding the molecular mechanism of photosynthetic oxygen evolution

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The molecular mechanism of photosynthetic oxygen evolution remains a mystery in photosynthesis research. Although recent X-ray crystallographic studies of the photosystem II core complex at 3.0–3.5 Å resolutions have revealed the structure of the oxygen-evolving center (OEC), with approximate positions of the Mn and Ca ions and the amino acid ligands, elucidation of its detailed structure and the reactions during the S-state cycle awaits further spectroscopic investigations. Light-induced Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) difference spectroscopy was first applied to the OEC in 1992 as detection of its structural changes upon the S1→S2 transition, and spectra during the S-state cycle induced by consecutive flashes were reported in 2001. These FTIR spectra provide extensive structural information on the amino acid side groups, polypeptide chains, metal core, and water molecules, which constitute the OEC and are involved in its reaction. FTIR spectroscopy is thus becoming a powerful tool in investigating the reaction mechanism of photosynthetic oxygen evolution. In this mini-review, the measurement method of light-induced FTIR spectra of OEC is introduced and the results obtained thus far using this technique are summarized.