The structure of the S-layer of Clostridium difficile

William J Bradshaw, April K. Roberts, Clifford C. Shone, K Ravi Acharya

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (SciVal)


The nosocomially acquired pathogen Clostridium difficile is the primary causative agent of antibiotic associated diarrhoea and causes tens of thousands of deaths globally each year. C. difficile presents a paracrystalline protein array on the surface of the cell known as an S-layer. S-layers have been demonstrated to possess a wide range of important functions, which, combined with their inherent accessibility, makes them a promising drug target. The unusually complex S-layer of C. difficile is primarily comprised of the high- and low- molecular weight S-layer proteins, HMW SLP and LMW SLP, formed from the cleavage of the S-layer precursor protein, SlpA, but may also contain up to 28 SlpA paralogues. A model of how the S-layer functions as a whole is required if it is to be exploited in fighting the bacterium. Here, we provide a summary of what is known about the S-layer of C. difficile and each of the paralogues and, considering some of the domains present, suggest potential roles for them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)319-331
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cell Communication and Signaling
Early online date23 Nov 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Nov 2017


  • Journal Article
  • Review


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