We are interested in the structure, assembly and function of the paracrystalline layer that covers C. difficile cells - the S-layer.
Many bacteria and archaea possess a two-dimensional protein array, the S-layer, that covers the cell surface and plays crucial roles in cell physiology. In C. difficile, the S-layer has been implicated in colonisation and inflammation.
We have determined the structure and assembly of SlpA, the main S-layer component in C. difficile, which is post-translationally cleaved into two S-layer proteins (SLPs): the high molecular weight, SLPH, and low molecular weight, SLPL. These subunits then form a complex (H/L) that is incorporated in the S-layer.
Key findings in our Nature Communications paper (2022):
We aim to continue to use a combination of structural, biochemical, biophysical and computational methods to further understand the role and dynamics of the S-layer.
Image by Lizah van der Aart