Research Article

Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 92, Issue 3, pp 389-405

First online:

Structure of the Mn4–Ca cluster as derived from X-ray diffraction

  • Jan KernAffiliated withInstitut für Chemie, Max Volmer Laboratorium für Biophysikalische Chemie, Sekr. PC 14, Technische Universität Berlin Email author 
  • , Jacek BiesiadkaAffiliated withInstitut für Chemie und Biochemie/Kristallographie, Freie Universität Berlin
  • , Bernhard LollAffiliated withInstitut für Chemie und Biochemie/Kristallographie, Freie Universität BerlinMax-Planck-Institut für Medizinische Forschung, Abteilung für Biomolekulare Mechanismen
  • , Wolfram SaengerAffiliated withInstitut für Chemie und Biochemie/Kristallographie, Freie Universität Berlin
  • , Athina ZouniAffiliated withInstitut für Chemie, Max Volmer Laboratorium für Biophysikalische Chemie, Sekr. PC 14, Technische Universität Berlin

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Abstract

The catalytic centre for light-induced water oxidation in photosystem II (PSII) is a multinuclear metal cluster containing four manganese and one calcium cations. Knowing the structure of this biological catalyst is of utmost importance for unravelling the mechanism of water oxidation in photosynthesis. In this review we describe the current state of the X-ray structure determination at 3.0 Å resolution of the water oxidation complex (WOC) of PSII. The arrangement of metal cations in the cluster, their coordination and protein surroundings are discussed with regard to spectroscopic and mutagenesis studies. Limitations of the presently available structural data are pointed out and possible perspectives for the future are outlined, including the combination of X-ray diffraction and X-ray spectroscopy on single crystals.

Keywords

Mn-cluster Photosystem II Radiation damage Structure Water oxidizing complex X-ray absorption spectroscopy X-ray diffraction