The cell wall of Bacillus subtilis
is a rigid structure on the outside of the cell that forms the first barrier between the bacterium and the environment, and at the same time maintains cell shape and withstands the pressure generated by the cell's turgor. In this chapter, the chemical composition of peptidoglycan, teichoic and teichuronic acids, the polymers that comprise the cell wall, and the biosynthetic pathways involved in their synthesis will be discussed, as well as the architecture of the cell wall. B. subtilis
has been the first bacterium for which the role of an actin-like cytoskeleton in cell shape determination and peptidoglycan synthesis was identified and for which the entire set of peptidoglycan synthesizing enzymes has been localised. The role of the cytoskeleton in shape generation and maintenance will be discussed and results from other model organisms will be compared to what is known for B. subtilis
. Finally, outstanding questions in the field of cell wall synthesis will be discussed.