Mechanism of Photosynthetic Water Oxidation

SHEN, Jian-Ren

/ Photosynthesis Research Center, Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology /Professor, Director / shen[at]

Photosynthetic water oxidation produces electrons, protons and oxygen from water using light energy from the sun, thus sustaining all oxygenic life on the earth. This reaction is catalyzed by Photosystem II (PSII), a huge membrane-protein complex. We are analyzing the structure and function of PSII in order to reveal the molecular mechanism of water oxidation, which may serve as a template for artificial photosynthetic systems. We have analyzed the detailed structure of PSII and its catalytic center for water oxidation, the Mn4CaO5-cluster, which was selected as one of the ten "Breakthroughs of the Year 2011" by the Journal Science.

Reference: M. Suga, F. Akita, K. Hirata, G. Ueno, H. Murakami, Y. Nakajima, T. Shimizu, K. Yamashita, M. Yamamoto, H. Ago & J.-R. Shen: "Native structure of photosystem II at 1.95 Å resolution viewed by femtosecond X-ray pulses", Nature, 517, 99-103 (2015)



Crystals of dimeric photosystem II complexes from a thermophilic cyanobacterium Thermosynechococcus vulcanus.