Cwp84, a Clostridium difficile cysteine protease, exhibits conformational flexibility in the absence of its propeptide
Bradshaw WJ., Roberts AK., Shone CC., Acharya KR.
In recent decades, the global healthcare problems caused by Clostridium difficile have increased at an alarming rate. A greater understanding of this antibiotic-resistant bacterium, particularly with respect to how it interacts with the host, is required for the development of novel strategies for fighting C. difficile infections. The surface layer (S-layer) of C. difficile is likely to be of significant importance to host-pathogen interactions. The mature S-layer is formed by a proteinaceous array consisting of multiple copies of a high-molecular-weight and a low-molecular-weight S-layer protein. These components result from the cleavage of SlpA by Cwp84, a cysteine protease. The structure of a truncated Cwp84 active-site mutant has recently been reported and the key features have been identified, providing the first structural insights into the role of Cwp84 in the formation of the S-layer. Here, two structures of Cwp84 after propeptide cleavage are presented and the three conformational changes that are observed are discussed. These changes result in a reconfiguration of the active site and exposure of the hydrophobic pocket.