Complementing proteomic technologies enable an unbiased view of cellular adaptation and thus may provide a new understanding of cellular physiology, particularly for microorganisms because a major fraction of their proteome is accessible to currently available technology. In combination with transcriptional profiling expression proteomics provides access to interesting candidate genes and proteins that will then need to be validated and supplemented by traditional physiological, biochemical and genetic approaches. After a description of the current status of the technology, we display the potential of microbial proteomics using the model organism Bacillus subtilis as example. Starting from a proteome map a proteomic view of the metabolism will be provided. Furthermore, we demonstrate that proteomics complemented by transcriptomics is also useful for the study of stress and starvation responses and that integration of these data will lead to a comprehensive understanding of the adaptational network of bacterial cells. Thus, B. subtilis constitutes a highly versatile and tractable model organism for the study of generic stress responses and the expertise that has been gained can easily be transferred to the study of the cellular physiology of related Gram-positive pathogens and their pathophysiology.