PsbO-D158 is a highly conserved residue of the PsbO protein in photosystem II (PSII), and participates in one of the hydrogen-bonding networks connecting the manganese cluster with the lumenal surface. In order to examine the role of PsbO-D158, we mutated it to E, N or K in Thermosynechococcus vulcanus and characterized photosynthetic properties of the mutants obtained. The growth rates of these three mutants were similar to that of the wild type, whereas the oxygen-evolving activity of the three mutant cells decreased to 60-64% of the wild type. Fluorescence kinetics showed that the mutations did not affect the electron transfer from QA to QB, but slightly affected the donor side of PSII. Moreover, all of the three mutant cells were more sensitive to high light and became slower to recover from photoinhibition. In the isolated thylakoid membranes from the three mutants, the PsbU subunit was lost and the oxygen-evolving activity was reduced to a lower level compared to that in the respective cells. PSII complexes isolated from these mutants showed no oxygen-evolving activity, which was found to be due to large or complete loss of PsbO, PsbV and PsbU during the process of purification. Moreover, PSII cores purified from the three mutants contained Psb27, an assembly co-factor of PSII. These results suggest that PsbO-D158 is required for the proper binding of the three extrinsic proteins to PSII and plays an important role in maintaining the optimal oxygen-evolving activity, and its mutation caused incomplete assembly of the PSII complex.