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The mechanism of oxygen evolution by photosystem II (PSII) has remained highly conserved during the course of evolution from ancestral cyanobacteria to green plants. A cluster of manganese, calcium, and chloride ions, whose binding environment is optimized by PSII extrinsic proteins, catalyzes this water-splitting reaction. The accepted view is that in plants and green algae, the three extrinsic proteins are PsbO, PsbP, and PsbQ, whereas in cyanobacteria, they are PsbO, PsbV, and PsbU. Our previous proteomic analysis established the presence of a PsbQ homolog in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis 6803. The current study additionally demonstrates the presence of a PsbP homolog in cyanobacterial PSII. Both psbP and psbQ inactivation mutants exhibited reduced photoautotrophic growth as well as decreased water oxidation activity under CaCl2-depleted conditions. Moreover, purified PSII complexes from each mutant had significantly reduced activity. In cyanobacteria, one PsbQ is present per PSII complex, whereas PsbP is significantly substoichiometric. These findings indicate that both PsbP and PsbQ proteins are regulators that are necessary for the biogenesis of optimally active PSII in Synechocystis 6803. The new picture emerging from these data is that five extrinsic PSII proteins, PsbO, PsbP, PsbQ, PsbU, and PsbV, are present in cyanobacteria, two of which, PsbU and PsbV, have been lost during the evolution of green plants.

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Plant Cell

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