This review covers the recent progress in the elucidation of the structure of photosystem II (PSII). Because much of the structural information for this membrane protein complex has been revealed by electron microscopy (EM), the review will also consider the specific technical and interpretation problems that arise with EM where they are of particular relevance to the structural data. Most recent reviews of photosystem II structure have concentrated on molecular studies of the PSII genes and on the likely roles of the subunits that they encode or they were mainly concerned with the biophysical data and fast absorption spectroscopy largely relating to electron transfer in various purified PSII preparations. In this review, we will focus on the approaches to the three-dimensional architecture of the complex and the lipid bilayer in which it is located (the thylakoid membrane) with special emphasis placed upon electron microscopical studies of PSII-containing thylakoid membranes. There are a few reports of 3D crystals of PSII and of associated X-ray diffraction measurements and although little structural information has so far been obtained from such studies (because of the lack of 3D crystals of sufficient quality), the prospects for such studies are also assessed.

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