Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 91, Issue 1, pp 59–69

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

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11120-007-9137-5

Cite this article as:
Noguchi, T. Photosynth Res (2007) 91: 59. doi:10.1007/s11120-007-9137-5


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.


FTIR Infrared absorption Light-induced FTIR difference spectra Mn cluster Oxygen evolution Photosystem II S-state cycle Vibrational spectroscopy Water oxidation 



Fourier transform infrared




Oxygen-evolving center


Photosystem II


Primary quinone electron acceptor


Secondary quinone electron acceptor


Redox-active tyrosine on the D2 protein


Redox-active tyrosine on the D1 protein

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Materials ScienceUniversity of TsukubaTsukuba, IbarakiJapan

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