The paper - The structure of the cysteine protease and lectin-like domains of Cwp84, a surface layer-associated protein from Clostridium difficile – focusses on a protein found on the surface of the bacterial cells called Cwp84.

Using the high intensity x-ray beam at Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire the team were able to produce a high resolution 3D representation of the protein providing the first insights of its structure at the atomic level.

In previous tests, preventing Cwp84 from developing has weakened the effects of the bacteria, making it an important area for study.

Lead author William Bradshaw is a PhD student in only his first year of study, making the inclusion of his paper in such a prestigious journal even more impressive. The research involved his supervisor Professor Ravi Acharya, members of his team from the Department and scientists from Public Health England, Porton Down.

Professor Acharya said: “Even though this research is in the early stages it has the potential to help with the development of new anti-bacterial agents which could be used in the fight against these so called ‘superbugs’.”