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Science. 1993 Apr 30;260(5108):675-9.

Where plants make oxygen: a structural model for the photosynthetic oxygen-evolving manganese cluster.

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  • 1Structural Biology Division, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


In the photosynthetic evolution of oxygen, water oxidation occurs at a catalytic site that includes four manganese atoms together with the essential cofactors, the calcium and chlorine ions. A structural model and a determination of the manganese oxidation states based on x-ray absorption spectroscopy are presented. The salient features, in both higher plants and cyanobacteria, are a pair of di-mu-oxo bridged manganese binuclear clusters linked by a mono-mu-oxo bridge, one proximal calcium atom, and one halide. In dark-adapted samples, manganese occurs in oxidation states (III) and (IV). Data from oriented membranes display distinct dichroism, precluding highly symmetrical structures for the manganese complex.

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