Photosynthesis Research

, Volume 116, Issue 2–3, pp 231–234 | Cite as

A proposed role for inorganic carbon in water oxidation

  • Paul A. Castelfranco


This is an article on the peroxydicarbonic acid (PODCA) hypothesis of photosynthetic water oxidation, which follows our first article in this general area (Castelfranco et al., Photosynth Res 94:235–246, 2007). In this article I have expanded on the idea of a protein-bound intermediate containing inorganic carbon in some chemically bound form. PODCA is conceived in this article as constituting a bridge between two proteins of the oxygen-evolving complex (OEC) that are essential for the evolution of O2. Presumably, these are two proteins which have been shown to possess Mn-dependent carbonic anhydrase activity (Lu et al., Plant Cell Physiol 46:1944–1953, 2005; Shitov et al., Biochemistry (Moscow) 74:509–517, 2009). One of these proteins may be the DI of the OEC core and the other may be the PsbO extrinsic protein. I attempt to relate briefly the PODCA hypothesis to the role of two cofactors for O2 evolution: Ca2+ and inorganic carbon. In this scheme, inorganic carbon (HCO3 ) mediates the oxidation of peroxide to dioxygen, thus avoiding the homolytic cleavage of the peroxide into two free radicals. I visualize the role of Ca2+ in the binding of PODCA to two essential photosystem II proteins. I propose that PODCA alternates between two Phases. In Phase 1, PODCA is broken down with the production of O2. In Phase 2, PODCA is regenerated.


Bicarbonate Calcium Carbonic anhydrase Oxygen evolution Peroxydicarbonic acid Photosystem II PSII PODCA 



The author wishes to thank Dr. William Lucas, chair of the Department of Plant Biology and many colleagues therein for their encouragement, departmental support, and for putting at my disposal space, equipment, etc. Friends in the Chemistry Department, particularly Dr. Mark Kurth, helped me to visualize the chemical properties of the compounds of interest and to foresee how they might react under different conditions. My friend and colleague, Dr. Alan Stemler, lent his expertise and full support to the development of this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Plant BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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