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      Native structure of photosystem II at 1.95 Å resolution viewed by femtosecond X-ray pulses

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          Abstract

          Photosynthesis converts light energy into biologically useful chemical energy vital to life on Earth. The initial reaction of photosynthesis takes place in photosystem II (PSII), a 700-kilodalton homodimeric membrane protein complex that catalyses photo-oxidation of water into dioxygen through an S-state cycle of the oxygen evolving complex (OEC). The structure of PSII has been solved by X-ray diffraction (XRD) at 1.9 ångström resolution, which revealed that the OEC is a Mn4CaO5-cluster coordinated by a well defined protein environment. However, extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) studies showed that the manganese cations in the OEC are easily reduced by X-ray irradiation, and slight differences were found in the Mn-Mn distances determined by XRD, EXAFS and theoretical studies. Here we report a 'radiation-damage-free' structure of PSII from Thermosynechococcus vulcanus in the S1 state at a resolution of 1.95 ångströms using femtosecond X-ray pulses of the SPring-8 ångström compact free-electron laser (SACLA) and hundreds of large, highly isomorphous PSII crystals. Compared with the structure from XRD, the OEC in the X-ray free electron laser structure has Mn-Mn distances that are shorter by 0.1-0.2 ångströms. The valences of each manganese atom were tentatively assigned as Mn1D(III), Mn2C(IV), Mn3B(IV) and Mn4A(III), based on the average Mn-ligand distances and analysis of the Jahn-Teller axis on Mn(III). One of the oxo-bridged oxygens, O5, has significantly longer distances to Mn than do the other oxo-oxygen atoms, suggesting that O5 is a hydroxide ion instead of a normal oxygen dianion and therefore may serve as one of the substrate oxygen atoms. These findings provide a structural basis for the mechanism of oxygen evolution, and we expect that this structure will provide a blueprint for the design of artificial catalysts for water oxidation.

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          Cyanobacterial photosystem II at 2.9-A resolution and the role of quinones, lipids, channels and chloride.

          Photosystem II (PSII) is a large homodimeric protein-cofactor complex located in the photosynthetic thylakoid membrane that acts as light-driven water:plastoquinone oxidoreductase. The crystal structure of PSII from Thermosynechococcus elongatus at 2.9-A resolution allowed the unambiguous assignment of all 20 protein subunits and complete modeling of all 35 chlorophyll a molecules and 12 carotenoid molecules, 25 integral lipids and 1 chloride ion per monomer. The presence of a third plastoquinone Q(C) and a second plastoquinone-transfer channel, which were not observed before, suggests mechanisms for plastoquinol-plastoquinone exchange, and we calculated other possible water or dioxygen and proton channels. Putative oxygen positions obtained from a Xenon derivative indicate a role for lipids in oxygen diffusion to the cytoplasmic side of PSII. The chloride position suggests a role in proton-transfer reactions because it is bound through a putative water molecule to the Mn(4)Ca cluster at a distance of 6.5 A and is close to two possible proton channels.
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            Where water is oxidized to dioxygen: structure of the photosynthetic Mn4Ca cluster.

            The oxidation of water to dioxygen is catalyzed within photosystem II (PSII) by a Mn(4)Ca cluster, the structure of which remains elusive. Polarized extended x-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS) measurements on PSII single crystals constrain the Mn(4)Ca cluster geometry to a set of three similar high-resolution structures. Combining polarized EXAFS and x-ray diffraction data, the cluster was placed within PSII, taking into account the overall trend of the electron density of the metal site and the putative ligands. The structure of the cluster from the present study is unlike either the 3.0 or 3.5 angstrom-resolution x-ray structures or other previously proposed models.
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              Serial time-resolved crystallography of photosystem II using a femtosecond X-ray laser.

              Photosynthesis, a process catalysed by plants, algae and cyanobacteria converts sunlight to energy thus sustaining all higher life on Earth. Two large membrane protein complexes, photosystem I and II (PSI and PSII), act in series to catalyse the light-driven reactions in photosynthesis. PSII catalyses the light-driven water splitting process, which maintains the Earth's oxygenic atmosphere. In this process, the oxygen-evolving complex (OEC) of PSII cycles through five states, S0 to S4, in which four electrons are sequentially extracted from the OEC in four light-driven charge-separation events. Here we describe time resolved experiments on PSII nano/microcrystals from Thermosynechococcus elongatus performed with the recently developed technique of serial femtosecond crystallography. Structures have been determined from PSII in the dark S1 state and after double laser excitation (putative S3 state) at 5 and 5.5 Å resolution, respectively. The results provide evidence that PSII undergoes significant conformational changes at the electron acceptor side and at the Mn4CaO5 core of the OEC. These include an elongation of the metal cluster, accompanied by changes in the protein environment, which could allow for binding of the second substrate water molecule between the more distant protruding Mn (referred to as the 'dangler' Mn) and the Mn3CaOx cubane in the S2 to S3 transition, as predicted by spectroscopic and computational studies. This work shows the great potential for time-resolved serial femtosecond crystallography for investigation of catalytic processes in biomolecules.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature
                Nature
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                0028-0836
                1476-4687
                January 2015
                November 26 2014
                January 2015
                : 517
                : 7532
                : 99-103
                Article
                10.1038/nature13991
                25470056
                © 2015

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