Incubation of photosystem II preparations with NO at -30 °C results in the slow formation of a unique state of the water-oxidizing complex (WOC), which was recently identified as a Mn(II)-Mn-(III) dimer [Sarrou, J, Ioannidis, N., Deligiannakis, Y., and Petrouleas, V. (1998) Biochemistry 37, 3581-3587]. Evolution of the Mn(II)-Mn(III) EPR signal proceeds through one or more intermediates [Goussias, C., Ioannidis, N., and Petrouleas, V. (1997) Biochemistry 36, 9261-9266]. In an effort to identify these intermediates, we have examined the time course of the signal evolution in the presence and absence of methanol. An early step of the interaction of NO with the WOC is the reduction of S1 to the S0 state, characterized by the weak Mn-hyperfine structure recently reported for that state. At longer times S0 is further reduced to a state which has the properties of the S-1 state, in that single-turnover illumination restores the S0 signal. The Mn(II)-Mn(III) state forms after the S-1 state and is tentatively assigned to an (iso)S- 2 state, although lower states or a modified S-1 state cannot be excluded at present. Following removal of NO 60-65% of the initial S2 multiline signal size or the O2-evolving activity can be restored. The data provide for the first time EPR information on a state lower than S0. Furthermore, the low-temperature NO treatment provides a simple means for the selective population of the S0, S-1 and the Mn(II)-Mn(III) states.
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