A photosystem II (PSII) complex highly active in oxygen evolution was purified and crystallized from a thermophilic cyanobacterium, Synechococcus vulcanus. The PSII complex in the crystals contained the D1/D2 reaction center subunits, CP47 and CP43 (two chlorophyll-binding core antenna proteins of photosystem II), cytochrome b-559 α- and β-subunits, several low molecular weight subunits, and three extrinsic proteins, that is, 33 and 12 kDa proteins and cytochrome c-550. The PSII complex also retained a high rate of oxygen evolution. The apparent molecular mass of the PSII in the crystals was determined to be 580 kDa by gel filtration chromatography, indicating that the PSII crystallized is a dimer. The crystals diffracted to a maximum resolution of 3.5 Å at a cryogenic temperature using X-rays from a synchrotron radiation source, SPring-8. The crystals belonged to an orthorhombic system, and the space group was P212121 with unit cell dimensions of a = 129.7 Å b = 226.5 Å and c = 307.8 Å. Each asymmetric unit contained one PSII dimer, which gave rise to a specific volume (V(M)) of 3.6 Å3/Da based on the calculated molecular mass of 310 kDa for a PSII monomer and an estimated solvent content of 66%. Multiple data sets of native crystals have been collected and processed to 4.0 Å, indicating that our crystals are suitable for structure analysis at this resolution.
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