Sticking together: building a biofilm the Bacillus subtilis way

Nat Rev Microbiol. 2013 Mar;11(3):157-68. doi: 10.1038/nrmicro2960. Epub 2013 Jan 28.


Biofilms are ubiquitous communities of tightly associated bacteria encased in an extracellular matrix. Bacillus subtilis has long served as a robust model organism to examine the molecular mechanisms of biofilm formation, and a number of studies have revealed that this process is regulated by several integrated pathways. In this Review, we focus on the molecular mechanisms that control B. subtilis biofilm assembly, and then briefly summarize the current state of knowledge regarding biofilm disassembly. We also discuss recent progress that has expanded our understanding of B. subtilis biofilm formation on plant roots, which are a natural habitat for this soil bacterium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacillus subtilis / physiology*
  • Bacterial Adhesion*
  • Biofilms / growth & development*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Models, Biological
  • Plant Roots / microbiology