Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 92, Issue 3, pp 389–405

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

  • Jan Kern
  • Jacek Biesiadka
  • Bernhard Loll
  • Wolfram Saenger
  • Athina Zouni
Research Article


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.


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





Chlorophyll a


Electron transfer chain


Extended X-ray absorption fine structure


Fourier transform infrared


Purple bacterial reaction centre


Pheophytin a


Reaction centre


Photosystem II


X-ray absorption spectroscopy


Water oxidizing complex


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Kern
    • 1
  • Jacek Biesiadka
    • 2
  • Bernhard Loll
    • 2
    • 3
  • Wolfram Saenger
    • 2
  • Athina Zouni
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Chemie, Max Volmer Laboratorium für Biophysikalische Chemie, Sekr. PC 14Technische Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Chemie und Biochemie/KristallographieFreie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Max-Planck-Institut für Medizinische Forschung, Abteilung für Biomolekulare MechanismenHeidelbergGermany

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