Photosynthesis produces the oxygen necessary for all aerobic life. During this process, the manganese-containing oxygen evolving complex (OEC) in photosystem II (PSII), cycles through five oxidation states, S0-S4. One of these, S2, is known to be paramagnetic and gives rise to electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) signals used to probe the catalytic structure and function of the OEC. The S0 state has long been thought to be paramagnetic. We report here aMn EPR signal from the previously EPR invisible S0 state. The new signal oscillates with a period of four, indicating that it originates from fully active PSII centers. Although similar to the S2 state multiline signal, the new signal is wider (2200 gauss compared with 1850 gauss in samples produced by flashing), with different peak intensity and separation (82 gauss compared with 89 gauss). These characteristics are consistent with the S0 state EPR signal arising from a coupled MnII-MnIII intermediate. The new signal is more stable than the S2 state signal and its decay in tens of minutes is indicative of it originating from the S0 state. The S0 state signal will provide invaluable information toward the understanding of oxygen evolution in plants.
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