Water oxidation chemistry of photosystem II

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Citations (Scopus)


Photosystem II (PSII) uses light energy to split water into protons, electrons and O2. In this reaction, nature has solved the difficult chemical problem of efficient four-electron oxidation of water to yield O 2 without significant amounts of reactive intermediate species such as superoxide, hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radicals. In order to use nature's solution for the design of artificial catalysts that split water, it is important to understand the mechanism of the reaction. The recently published X-ray crystal structures of cyanobacterial PSII complexes provide information on the structure of the Mn and Ca ions, the redox-active tyrosine called Y Z and the surrounding amino acids that comprise the O 2-evolving complex (OEC). The emerging structure of the OEC provides constraints on the different hypothesized mechanisms for O2 evolution. The water oxidation mechanism of PSII is discussed in the light of biophysical and computational studies, inorganic chemistry and X-ray crystallographic information.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1211-1218
Number of pages8
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1494
Publication statusPublished - Mar 27 2008


  • Calcium
  • Manganese
  • Oxygen-evolving complex
  • Photosystem II
  • Water oxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Water oxidation chemistry of photosystem II'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this