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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.
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