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Is Deprotonation of the Oxygen-Evolving Complex of Photosystem II during the S1 → S2 Transition Suppressed by Proton Quantum Delocalization?

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journal contribution
posted on 24.05.2021, 21:05 by Ke R. Yang, K. V. Lakshmi, Gary W. Brudvig, Victor S. Batista
We address the protonation state of the water-derived ligands in the oxygen-evolving complex (OEC) of photosystem II (PSII), prepared in the S2 state of the Kok cycle. We perform quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics calculations of isotropic proton hyperfine coupling constants, with direct comparisons to experimental data from two-dimensional hyperfine sublevel correlation (HYSCORE) spectroscopy and extended X-ray absorption fine structure (EXAFS). We find a low-barrier hydrogen bond with significant delocalization of the proton shared by the water-derived ligand, W1, and the aspartic acid residue D1–D61 of the D1 polypeptide. The lowering of the zero-point energy of a shared proton due to quantum delocalization precludes its release to the lumen during the S1→ S2 transition. Retention of the proton facilitates the shuttling of a proton during the isomerization of the tetranuclear manganese–calcium–oxo (Mn4Ca–oxo) cluster, from the “open” to “closed” conformation, a step suggested to be necessary for oxygen evolution from previous studies. Our findings suggest that quantum-delocalized protons, stabilized by low-barrier hydrogen bonds in model catalytic systems, can facilitate the accumulation of multiple oxidizing equivalents at low overpotentials.

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