The catalytic centre for light-induced water oxidation in photosystem II (PSII) is a multinuclear metal cluster containing four manganese and one calcium cations. Knowing the structure of this biological catalyst is of utmost importance for unravelling the mechanism of water oxidation in photosynthesis. In this review we describe the current state of the X-ray structure determination at 3.0 A resolution of the water oxidation complex (WOC) of PSII. The arrangement of metal cations in the cluster, their coordination and protein surroundings are discussed with regard to spectroscopic and mutagenesis studies. Limitations of the presently available structural data are pointed out and possible perspectives for the future are outlined, including the combination of X-ray diffraction and X-ray spectroscopy on single crystals.
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