Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Structure and assembly of the S-layer in C. difficile

Lookup NU author(s): Paola Lanzoni, Dr Anna Barwinska-SendraORCiD, Dr Arnaud Basle, Professor Paula SalgadoORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2022, The Author(s).Many bacteria and archaea possess a two-dimensional protein array, or S-layer, that covers the cell surface and plays crucial roles in cell physiology. Here, we report the crystal structure of SlpA, the main S-layer protein of the bacterial pathogen Clostridioides difficile, and use electron microscopy to study S-layer organisation and assembly. The SlpA crystal lattice mimics S-layer assembly in the cell, through tiling of triangular prisms above the cell wall, interlocked by distinct ridges facing the environment. Strikingly, the array is very compact, with pores of only ~10 Å in diameter, compared to other S-layers (30–100 Å). The surface-exposed flexible ridges are partially dispensable for overall structure and assembly, although a mutant lacking this region becomes susceptible to lysozyme, an important molecule in host defence. Thus, our work gives insights into S-layer organisation and provides a basis for development of C. difficile-specific therapeutics.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lanzoni-Mangutchi P, Banerji O, Wilson J, Barwinska-Sendra A, Kirk JA, Vaz F, O'Beirne S, Basle A, El Omari K, Wagner A, Fairweather NF, Douce GR, Bullough PA, Fagan RP, Salgado PS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nature Communications

Year: 2022

Volume: 13

Issue: 1

Print publication date: 01/12/2022

Online publication date: 25/02/2022

Acceptance date: 06/01/2022

Date deposited: 14/03/2022

ISSN (electronic): 2041-1723

Publisher: Nature Research


DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-28196-w

PubMed id: 35217634


Altmetrics provided by Altmetric


Funder referenceFunder name
... University of Sheffield Imagine: Imaging Life initiative PhD and University of Sheffield PhD studentships, respectively.
A.B.S., J.A.K. and F.V. were supported by this Wellcome Trust Collaborative Award, awarded to G.R.D., P.S.S. and R.P.F.
J.W. was supported by a BBSRC grant (BB/P02002X/1) awarded to P.A.B. and R.P.F.;
P.L.M., O.B. and S.O.B. were supported by Faculty of Medical Sciences, Newcastle University PhD, ...
supported by the Wellcome Trust [204877/Z/16/Z]