As part of a project aimed at developing models for photosystem II (PSII) in green plants, we have prepared a series of model compounds (7, 8, and 13). In these compounds, a photosensitizer, ruthenium(II) tris(bipyridyl) complex (to mimic the function of P-680 in PSII), was covalently linked to a manganese(II) ion through different bridging ligands. The structures of the compounds were characterized by electron paramagnetic resonance measurements and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. The interaction between the ruthenium and manganese moieties within the complex was probed by steady-state and time-resolved emission measurements. When the binuclear complexes are exposed to flash photolysis in the presence of an electron acceptor such as methylviologen (MV2+), it could be shown that after the initial electron transfer from the excited state of Ru(II) in compound 7, forming Ru(III) and MV+., an intramolecular electron transfer from coordinated Mn(II) to the photogenerated Ru(III) occurred with a first-order rate constant of 1.8 x 10(5) s(-1), regenerating Ru(II). This is believed to be the first supramolecular system where a manganese complex has been used as an electron donor to a photo-oxidized photosensitizer, Possible extensions to develop the manganese donor, and thus to approach the function of reaction center in PSII, are indicated.