The first tyrosyl radical intermediate formed in the S2-S 3 transition of photosystem II

Marius Retegan, Nicholas Cox, Wolfgang Lubitz, Frank Neese, Dimitrios A. Pantazis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


The EPR "split signals" represent key intermediates of the S-state cycle where the redox active D1-Tyr161 (YZ) has been oxidized by the reaction center of the photosystem II enzyme to its tyrosyl radical form, but the successive oxidation of the Mn4CaO5 cluster has not yet occurred (SiYZ). Here we focus on the S 2YZ state, which is formed en route to the final metastable state of the catalyst, the S3 state, the state which immediately precedes O-O bond formation. Quantum chemical calculations demonstrate that both isomeric forms of the S2 state, the open and closed cubane isomers, can form states with an oxidized YZ residue without prior deprotonation of the Mn4CaO5 cluster. The two forms are expected to lie close in energy and retain the electronic structure and magnetic topology of the corresponding S2 state of the inorganic core. As expected, tyrosine oxidation results in a proton shift towards His190. Analysis of the electronic rearrangements that occur upon formation of the tyrosyl radical suggests that a likely next step in the catalytic cycle is the deprotonation of a terminal water ligand (W1) of the Mn4CaO5 cluster. Diamagnetic metal ion substitution is used in our calculations to obtain the molecular g-tensor of YZ. It is known that the gx value is a sensitive probe not only of the extent of the proton shift between the tyrosine-histidine pair, but also of the polarization environment of the tyrosine, especially about the phenolic oxygen. It is shown for PSII that this environment is determined by the Ca2+ ion, which locates two water molecules about the phenoxyl oxygen, indirectly modulating the oxidation potential of YZ.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11901-11910
Number of pages10
JournalPhysical Chemistry Chemical Physics
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 2014
Externally publishedYes


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