Reconciling Structural and Spectroscopic Fingerprints of the Oxygen-Evolving Complex of Photosystem II: A Computational Study of the S 2 State

He Chen, David A. Case, G. Charles Dismukes

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11 Scopus citations


The catalytic cycle of photosynthetic water oxidation occurs at the Mn 4 CaO 5 oxygen-evolving complex (OEC) of photosystem II. Extensive spectroscopic data have been collected on the intermediates, especially the S 2 (Kok) state, although the proton and electron inventories (Mn oxidation states) are still uncertain. The "high oxidation" paradigm assigns S 2 Mn oxidation level (III, IV, IV, IV) or (IV, IV, IV, III), whereas a "low oxidation" paradigm posits two additional electrons. Here, we investigate the geometric (X-ray diffraction, extended X-ray absorption fine structure) and spectroscopic (electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR), electron nuclear double resonance (ENDOR)) properties of the S 2 state using quantum chemical density functional theory calculations, focusing on the neglected low paradigm. Two interconvertible electronic spin configurations are predicted as ground states, producing multiline (S = 1/2) and broad (S = 5/2) EPR signals in the low paradigm oxidation state (III, IV, III, III) and with W2 as OH - and O5 as OH - . They have "open" (S = 5/2) and "closed" (S = 1/2) Mn 3 CaO 4 -cubane geometries. Other energetically accessible isomers with ground spin states 1/2, 7/2, 9/2, or 11/2 can be obtained through perturbations of hydrogen-bonding networks (e.g., H + from His337 to O3 or W2), consistent with experimental observations. Conformers with the low oxidation state configuration (III, IV, IV, II) also become energetically accessible when the protonation states are O5 (OH - ), W2 (H 2 O), and neutral His337. The configuration with (III, IV, III, III) agrees well with earlier low-temperature EPR and ENDOR interpretations, whereas the Mn II -containing configuration agrees partially with recent ENDOR data. However, the low oxidation paradigm does not yield isotropic ligand hyperfine interactions in good agreement with observed values. We conclude that the low Mn oxidation state proposal for the OEC can closely fit most of the available structural and electronic data for S 2 at accessible energies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11868-11882
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number50
StatePublished - Dec 20 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Materials Chemistry


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