The thermophilic cyanobacterium, Thermosynechococcus elongatus, has been grown in the presence of Sr2+ instead of Ca2+ with the aim of biosynthetically replacing the Ca2+ of the oxygen-evolving enzyme with Sr2+. Not only were the cells able to grow normally with Sr2+, they actively accumulated the ion to levels higher than those of Ca2+ in the normal cultures. A protocol was developed to purify a fully active Sr(2+)-containing photosystem II (PSII). The modified enzyme contained a normal polypeptide profile and 1 strontium/4 manganese, indicating that the normal enzyme contains 1 calcium/4 manganese. The Sr(2+)- and Ca(2+)-containing enzymes were compared using EPR spectroscopy, UV-visible absorption spectroscopy, and O2 polarography. The Ca2+/Sr2+ exchange resulted in the modification of the EPR spectrum of the manganese cluster and a slower turnover of the redox cycle (the so-called S-state cycle), resulting in diminished O2 evolution activity under continuous saturating light: all features reported previously by biochemical Ca2+/Sr2+ exchange in plant PSII. This allays doubts that these changes could be because of secondary effects induced by the biochemical treatments themselves. In addition, the Sr(2+)-containing PSII has other kinetics modifications: 1) it has an increased stability of the S3 redox state; 2) it shows an increase in the rate of electron donation from TyrD, the redox-active tyrosine of the D2 protein, to the oxygen-evolving complex in the S3-state forming S2; 3) the rate of oxidation of the S0-state to the S1-state by TyrD* is increased; and 4) the release of O2 is slowed down to an extent similar to that seen for the slowdown of the S3TyrZ* to S0TyrZ transition, consistent with the latter constituting the limiting step of the water oxidation mechanism in Sr(2+)-substituted enzyme as well as in the normal enzyme. The replacement of Ca2+ by Sr2+ appears to have multiple effects on kinetics properties of the enzyme that may be explained by S-state-dependent shifts in the redox properties of both the manganese complex and TyrZ as well as structural effects.