Refinement of the structural model for the Photosystem II supercomplex of higher plants

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Recent X-ray structures determined for the Photosystem II (PSII) core complex isolated from cyanobacteria have provided important information for understanding the functionality of this photosynthetic enzyme including its water splitting activity. As yet, no high-resolution structure is available for PSII of plants or eukaryotes in general. However, crystal structures have been determined for some components of plant PSII which together with the cyanobacterial structure can be used to interpret lower resolution structures of plant PSII derived from electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM). Here, we utilise the published X-ray structures of a cyanobacterial PSII core, Light Harvesting Complex II (LHCII), PsbP and PsbQ proteins to construct a model of the plant LHCII-PSII supercomplex using a 17 Å resolution 3D electron density map of the spinach supercomplex determined by cryo-EM and single particle analysis. In so doing, we tentatively identify the relative positioning of the chlorophylls within the supercomplex and consider energy transfer pathways between the different subunits. The modelling has also allowed density to be assigned to the three extrinsic proteins of plant PSII, PsbO, PsbP and PsbQ associated with the water splitting centre and concluded that although the position of PsbO is the same as in cyanobacteria, PsbP and PsbQ are located in different positions to the cyanobacterial extrinsic PsbU and PsbV proteins. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.




Nield, J., & Barber, J. (2006). Refinement of the structural model for the Photosystem II supercomplex of higher plants. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Bioenergetics, 1757(5–6), 353–361.

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