pH dependence of the four individual transitions in the catalytic S-cycle during photosynthetic oxygen evolution.

Gabor Bernat, Susan F Morvaridi, Yashar Feyziyev, Stenbjörn Styring

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We have investigated the pH dependence for each individual redox transition in the S-cycle of the oxygen evolving complex (OEC) of photosystem II by electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy. In the experiments, OEC is advanced to the appropriate S-state at normal pH. Then, the pH is rapidly changed, and a new flash is given. The ability to advance to the next S-state in the cycle at different pHs is determined by measurements of the decrease or increase of characteristic EPR signals from the OEC in different S-states. In some cases the measured EPR signals are very small (this holds especially for the S0 ML signal at pH >7.5 and pH <4.8). Therefore, we refrain from providing error limits for the determined pK's. Our results indicate that the S1 --> S2 transition is independent of pH between 4.1 and 8.4. All other S-transitions are blocked at low pH. In the acidic region, the pK's for the inhibition of the S2 --> S3, the S3 --> [S4] --> S0, and the S0 --> S1 transitions are about 4.0, 4.5, and 4.7, respectively. The similarity of these pK values indicates that the inhibition of the steady-state oxygen evolution in the acidic range, which occurs with pK approximately 4.8, is a consequence of similar pH blocks in three of the redox steps involved in the oxygen evolution. In the alkaline region, we report a clear pH block in the S3 --> [S4] --> S0 transition with a pK of about 8.0. Our study also indicates the existence of a pH block at very high pH (pK approximately 9.4) in the S2 --> S3 transition. The S0 --> S1 transition is not affected, at least up to pH 9.0. This suggests that the inhibition of the steady-state oxygen evolution, which occurs with a pK of 8.0, is dominated by the inhibition of the S3 --> [S4] --> S0 transition. Our results are obtained in the presence of 5% methanol (v/v). However, it is unlikely that the determined pK's are affected by the presence of methanol since our results also show that the pH dependence of the steady-state oxygen evolution is not affected by methanol. The results in the alkaline region are in good agreement with a model, which suggests that the redox potential of Y(Z*)/Y(Z) is directly affected by high pH. At high pH the Y(Z*)/Y(Z) potential becomes lower than that of S2/S1 and S3/S2. The acidic block, with a pK of 4-5 in three S-transitions, implies that the inhibition mechanism is similar, and we suggest that it reflects protonation of a carboxylic side chain in the proton relay that expels protons from the OEC.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5830-5843
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


  • Catalysis
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxygen : metabolism
  • Photosynthesis
  • Photosynthetic Reaction Center
  • Plant : chemistry
  • Plant : metabolism
  • Protons
  • Spinach : metabolism
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy


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