Crystal structure of oxygen-evolving photosystem II from Thermosynechococcus vulcanus at 3.7-Å resolution
Photosystem II (PSII) is a multisubunit membrane protein complex performing light-induced electron transfer and water-splitting reactions, leading to the formation of molecular oxygen. The first crystal structure of PSII from a thermophilic cyanobacterium Thermosynechococcus elongatus was reported recently [Zouni, A., Witt, H. T., Kern, J., Fromme, P., Krauss, N., Saenger, W. & Orth, P. (2001) Nature 409, 739-743)] at 3.8-Å resolution. To analyze the PSII structure in more detail, we have obtained the crystal structure of PSII from another thermophilic cyanobacterium, Thermosynechococcus vulcanus, at 3.7-Å resolution. The present structure was built on the basis of the sequences of PSII large subunits D1, D2, CP47, and CP43; extrinsic 33- and 12-kDa proteins and cytochrome c550; and several low molecular mass subunits, among which the structure of the 12-kDa protein was not reported previously. This yielded much information concerning the molecular interactions within this large protein complex. We also show the arrangement of chlorophylls and cofactors, including two -carotenes recently identified in a region close to the reaction center, which provided important clues to the secondary electron transfer pathways around the reaction center. Furthermore, possible ligands for the Mn-cluster were determined. In particular, the C terminus of D1 polypeptide was shown to be connected to the Mn cluster directly. The structural information obtained here provides important insights into the mechanism of PSII reactions.