Structurally conserved channels in cyanobacterial and plant photosystem II

Naoki Sakashita, Hiroshi C. Watanabe, Takuya Ikeda, Hiroshi Ishikita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


In the cyanobacterial photosystem II (PSII), the O4-water chain in the D1 and CP43 proteins, a chain of water molecules that are directly H-bonded to O4 of the Mn4Ca cluster, is linked with a channel that connects the protein bulk surface along with a membrane-extrinsic protein subunit, PsbU (O4-PsbU channel). The cyanobacterial PSII structure also shows that the O1 site of the Mn4Ca cluster has a chain of H-bonded water molecules, which is linked with the channel that proceeds toward the bulk surface via PsbU and PsbV (O1-PsbU/V channel). Membrane-extrinsic protein subunits PsbU and PsbV in cyanobacterial PSII are replaced with PsbP and PsbQ in plant PSII. However, these four proteins have no structural similarity. It remains unknown whether the corresponding channels also exist in plant PSII, because water molecules are not identified in the plant PSII cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure. Using the cyanobacterial and plant PSII structures, we analyzed the channels that proceed from the Mn4Ca cluster. The cyanobacterial O4-PsbU and O1-PsbU/V channels were structurally conserved as the channel that proceeds along PsbP toward the protein bulk surface in the plant PSII (O4-PsbP and O1-PsbP channels, respectively). Calculated protonation states indicated that in contrast to the original geometry of the plant cryo-EM structure, protonated PsbP-Lys166 may form a salt-bridge with ionized D1-Glu329 and protonated PsbP-Lys173 may form a salt-bridge with ionized PsbQ-Asp28 near the O1-PsbP channel. The existence of these channels might explain the molecular mechanism of how PsbP can interact with the Mn4Ca cluster.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-85
Number of pages11
JournalPhotosynthesis Research
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Sep 1


  • Cytochrome c550
  • Membrane-extrinsic proteins
  • Proton transfer
  • PsbP
  • PsbQ
  • PsbU
  • PsbV
  • Water channel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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