The cellulosome is an intriguing multienzyme complex found in cellulolytic bacteria that plays a key role in the degradation of plant cell-wall polysaccharides. In Ruminococcus flavefaciens, a predominant fiber-degrading bacterium found in ruminants, the cellulosome is anchored to the bacterial cell wall through a relatively short ScaE scaffoldin. Determination of the crystal structure of the lone type-III ScaE cohesin from R. flavefaciens (Rf-CohE) was initiated as a part of a structural effort to define cellulosome assembly. The structure was determined at 1.95 Å resolution by single-wavelength anomalous diffraction. This is the first detailed description of a crystal structure for a type-III cohesin, and its features were compared with those of the known type-I and type-II cohesin structures. The Rf-CohE module folds into a nine-stranded β-sandwich with jellyroll topology, typically observed for cohesins, and includes two β-flaps in the midst of β-strands 4 and 8, similar to the type-II cohesin structures. However, the presence in Rf-CohE of an additional 13-residue α-helix located between β-strands 8 and 9 represents a dramatic divergence from other known cohesin structures. The prominent α-helix is enveloped by an extensive N-terminal loop, not observed in any other known cohesin, which embraces the helix presumably enhancing its stability. A planar surface at the upper portion of the front face of the molecule, bordered byβ-flap 8, exhibits plausible dimensions and exposed amino acid residues to accommodate the dockerin-binding site. Proteins 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.