The S1 → S2 transition of the oxygen-evolving complex (OEC) of photosystem II does not involve the transfer of a proton to the lumen and occurs at cryogenic temperatures. Therefore, it is commonly thought to involve only Mn oxidation without any significant change in the structure of the OEC. Here, we analyze structural changes upon the S1 → S2 transition, as revealed by quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics methods and the isomorphous difference Fourier method applied to serial femtosecond X-ray diffraction data. We find that the main structural change in the OEC is in the position of the dangling Mn and its coordination environment.
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