12 Scopus citations


Photosystem II (PSII) is a photosynthetic membrane-protein complex that undergoes an intricate, tightly regulated cycle of assembly, damage, and repair. The available crystal structures of cyanobacterial PSII are an essential foundation for understanding PSII function, but nonetheless provide a snapshot only of the active complex. To study aspects of the entire PSII life-cycle, mass spectrometry (MS) has emerged as a powerful tool that can be used in conjunction with biochemical techniques. In this article, we present the MS-based approaches that are used to study PSII composition, dynamics, and structure, and review the information about the PSII life-cycle that has been gained by these methods. This information includes the composition of PSII subcomplexes, discovery of accessory PSII proteins, identification of post-translational modifications and quantification of their changes under various conditions, determination of the binding site of proteins not observed in PSII crystal structures, conformational changes that underlie PSII functions, and identification of water and oxygen channels within PSII. We conclude with an outlook for the opportunity of future MS contributions to PSII research.

Original languageEnglish
Article number617
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
StatePublished - May 10 2016


  • Chemical cross-linking
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Photosystem II
  • Photosystem II life-cycle
  • Post-translational modification
  • Protein footprinting


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