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Molecular snapshots of oxygen formation in photosynthesis
Date:7/11/2014

states of the reaction. This stabilization is thought to be caused by a previously reported loss of a proton and to reflect a highly ordered arrangement that is required for the fast and energy efficient formation of oxygen from water."

The result was obtained using oxygen isotopic labelling and time-resolved membrane inlet mass spectrometry.

In the second study, Johannes Messinger and his collaborators used a X-ray free electron laser, Linac Coherent Light Source (Menlo Park, USA), that produces ultra-short high-intensity x-ray pulses (10−15 of a second) to perform simultaneous x-ray crystallography and x-ray emission spectroscopy on suspensions of micrometer sized photosystem II crystals.

"With this technique we studied the same reaction sequence and we obtained 'snap shots' of the structure of the atoms for the different states of the cluster, including the short lived state investigated in the first study."

The data show that no large scale structural changes (> 0.510−10 m) occur in the Mn4Ca cluster and the rest of the photosystem II complex during oxygen formation. The simultaneously collected X-ray emission data confirm that the "arresting" of the two bound water molecules, as observed in the mass spectrometric experiments, is not due to a change in the charge (oxidation state) of the manganese ions of the Mn4Ca cluster, nor to the formation of a first bond between the oxygen atoms of the two water molecules.

"The study suggests that small structural changes occur together with the proton release, but we still need to further improve the resolution of our data to see exactly what happens."

The first study was performed in collaboration with two French researchers. The second study was performed within an international team of more than 40 researchers.


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Contact: Johannes Messinger
Johannes.Messinger@umu.se
46-090-786-5933
Umea University
Source:Eurekalert

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