Just in case it rains: building a hydrophobic biofilm the Bacillus subtilis way

Sofia Arnaouteli, Cait E. MacPhee (Lead / Corresponding author), Nicola Stanley-Wall (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)
233 Downloads (Pure)


Over the millennia, diverse species of bacteria have evolved multiple independent mechanisms to structure sessile biofilm communities that confer protection and stability to the inhabitants. The Gram-positive soil bacterium Bacillus subtilis biofilm presents as an architecturally complex, highly hydrophobic community that resists wetting by water, solvents, and biocides. This remarkable property is conferred by a small secreted protein called BslA, which self-assembles into an organised lattice at an interface. In the biofilm, production of BslA is tightly regulated and the resultant protein is secreted in the extracellular environment where it forms a very effective communal barrier allowing the resident B. subtilis cells to shelter under the protection of a protein raincoat.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-12
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Microbiology
Early online date25 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


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