Quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics structural models of the oxygen-evolving complex of photosystem II

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The annual production of 260 Gtonnes of oxygen, during the process of photosynthesis, sustains life on earth. Oxygen is produced in the thylakoid membranes of green-plant chloroplasts and the internal membranes of cyanobacteria by photocatalytic water oxidation at the oxygen-evolving complex (OEC) of photosystem II (PSII). Recent breakthroughs in X-ray crystallography and advances in quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) hybrid methods have enabled the construction of chemically sensible models of the OEC of PSII. The resulting computational structural models suggest the complete ligation of the catalytic center by amino acid residues, water, hydroxide and chloride, as determined from the intrinsic electronic properties of the oxomanganese core and the perturbational influence of the surrounding protein environment. These structures are found to be consistent with available mechanistic data, and are also compatible with X-ray diffraction models and extended X-ray absorption fine structure measurements. It is therefore conjectured that these OEC models are particularly relevant for the elucidation of the catalytic mechanism of water oxidation. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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