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Models of the Oxygen-Evolving Complex of Photosystem II


Kanady, Jacob Steven (2015) Models of the Oxygen-Evolving Complex of Photosystem II. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/Z9C53HS0.


In the five chapters that follow, I delineate my efforts over the last five years to synthesize structurally and chemically relevant models of the Oxygen Evolving Complex (OEC) of Photosystem II. The OEC is nature’s only water oxidation catalyst, in that it forms the dioxygen in our atmosphere necessary for oxygenic life. Therefore understanding its structure and function is of deep fundamental interest and could provide design elements for artificial photosynthesis and manmade water oxidation catalysts. Synthetic endeavors towards OEC mimics have been an active area of research since the mid 1970s and have mutually evolved alongside biochemical and spectroscopic studies, affording ever-refined proposals for the structure of the OEC and the mechanism of water oxidation. This research has culminated in the most recent proposal: a low symmetry Mn4CaO5 cluster with a distorted Mn3CaO4 cubane bridged to a fourth, dangling Mn. To give context for how my graduate work fits into this rich history of OEC research, Chapter 1 provides a historical timeline of proposals for OEC structure, emphasizing the role that synthetic Mn and MnCa clusters have played, and ending with our Mn3CaO4 heterometallic cubane complexes.

In Chapter 2, the triarylbenzene ligand framework used throughout my work is introduced, and trinuclear clusters of Mn, Co, and Ni are discussed. The ligand scaffold consistently coordinates three metals in close proximity while leaving coordination sites open for further modification through ancillary ligand binding. The ligands coordinated could be varied, with a range of carboxylates and some less coordinating anions studied. These complexes’ structures, magnetic behavior, and redox properties are discussed.

Chapter 3 explores the redox chemistry of the trimanganese system more thoroughly in the presence of a fourth Mn equivalent, finding a range of oxidation states and oxide incorporation dependent on oxidant, solvent, and Mn salt. Oxidation states from MnII4 to MnIIIMnIV3 were observed, with 1-4 O2– ligands incorporated, modeling the photoactivation of the OEC. These complexes were studied by X-ray diffraction, EPR, XAS, magnetometry, and CV.

As Ca2+ is a necessary component of the OEC, Chapter 4 discusses synthetic strategies for making highly structurally accurate models of the OEC containing both Mn and Ca in the Mn3CaO4 cubane + dangling Mn geometry. Structural and electrochemical characterization of the first Mn3CaO4 heterometallic cubane complex— and comparison to an all-Mn Mn4O4 analog—suggests a role for Ca2+ in the OEC. Modification of the Mn3CaO4 system by ligand substitution affords low symmetry Mn3CaO4 complexes that are the most accurate models of the OEC to date.

Finally, in Chapter 5 the reactivity of the Mn3CaO4 cubane complexes toward O- atom transfer is discussed. The metal M strongly affects the reactivity. The mechanisms of O-atom transfer and water incorporation from and into Mn4O4 and Mn4O3 clusters, respectively, are studied through computation and 18O-labeling studies. The μ3-oxos of the Mn4O4 system prove fluxional, lending support for proposals of O2– fluxionality within the OEC.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:bioinorganic chemistry; water oxidation; manganese; calcium; oxygen-evolving complex; photosystem II
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemistry
Awards:The Herbert Newby McCoy Award, 2015
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Agapie, Theodor
Thesis Committee:
  • Peters, Jonas C. (chair)
  • Agapie, Theodor
  • Gray, Harry B.
  • Grubbs, Robert H.
Defense Date:4 August 2014
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:08272014-031912941
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8643
Deposited By: Jacob Kanady
Deposited On:29 Aug 2014 18:57
Last Modified:10 Jan 2022 20:37

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