All organisms examined to date, respond to a sudden change in environmental temperature with a specific cascade of adaptation reactions that, in some cases, have been identified and monitored at the molecular level. According to the type of temperature change, this response has been termed heat shock response (HSR) or cold shock response (CSR). During the HSR, a specialized sigma factor has been shown to play a central regulatory role in controlling expression of genes predominantly required to cope with heat-induced alteration of protein conformation. In contrast, after cold shock, nucleic acid structure and proteins interacting with the biological information molecules DNA and RNA appear to play a major cellular role. Currently, no cold–specific sigma factor has been identified. Therefore, unlike the HSR, the CSR appears to be organized as a complex stimulon rather than resembling a regulon. This review has been designed to draw a refined picture of our current understanding of the CSR in Bacillus subtilis. Important processes such as temperature sensing, membrane adaptation, modification of the translation apparatus, as well as nucleoid reorganization and some metabolic aspects, are discussed in brief. Special emphasis is placed on recent findings concerning the nucleic acid binding cold shock proteins, which play a fundamental role, not only during cold shock adaptation but also under optimal growth conditions.