Relative stability of the S2 isomers of the oxygen evolving complex of photosystem II

Divya Kaur, Witold Szejgis, Junjun Mao, Muhamed Amin, Krystle M. Reiss, Mikhail Askerka, Xiuhong Cai, Umesh Khaniya, Yingying Zhang, Gary W. Brudvig, Victor S. Batista, M. R. Gunner

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5 Citations (Scopus)


The oxidation of water to O2 is catalyzed by the Oxygen Evolving Complex (OEC), a Mn4CaO5 complex in Photosystem II (PSII). The OEC is sequentially oxidized from state S0 to S4. The S2 state, (MnIII)(MnIV)3, coexists in two redox isomers: S2,g=2, where Mn4 is MnIV and S2,g=4.1, where Mn1 is MnIV. Mn4 has two terminal water ligands, whose proton affinity is affected by the Mn oxidation state. The relative energy of the two S2 redox isomers and the protonation state of the terminal water ligands are analyzed using classical multi-conformer continuum electrostatics (MCCE). The Monte Carlo simulations are done on QM/MM optimized S1 and S2 structures docked back into the complete PSII, keeping the protonation state of the protein at equilibrium with the OEC redox and protonation states. Wild-type PSII, chloride-depleted PSII, PSII in the presence of oxidized YZ/protonated D1-H190, and the PSII mutants D2-K317A, D1-D61A, and D1-S169A are studied at pH 6. The wild-type PSII at pH 8 is also described. In qualitative agreement with experiment, in wild-type PSII, the S2,g=2 redox isomer is the lower energy state; while chloride depletion or pH 8 stabilizes the S2,g=4.1 state and the mutants D2-K317A, D1-D61A, and D1-S169A favor the S2,g=2 state. The protonation states of D1-E329, D1-E65, D1-H337, D1-D61, and the terminal waters on Mn4 (W1 and W2) are affected by the OEC oxidation state. The terminal W2 on Mn4 is a mixture of water and hydroxyl in the S2,g=2 state, indicating the two water protonation states have similar energy, while it remains neutral in the S1 and S2,g=4.1 states. In wild-type PSII, advancement to S2 leads to negligible proton loss and so there is an accumulation of positive charge. In the analyzed mutations and Cl depleted PSII, additional deprotonation is found upon formation of S2 state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-341
Number of pages11
JournalPhotosynthesis Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Grand canonical Monte Carlo simulations
  • Linear response approximation (LRA)
  • Oxygen evolving complex (OEC)
  • Photosystem II
  • Proton transfer
  • pK

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology

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