The rhizosphere constitutes a complex niche that may be exploited by a wide variety of bacteria. Bacterium-plant interactions in this niche can be influenced by factors such as the expression of heterologous genes in the plant. The objective of this work was to describe the bacterial communities associated with the rhizosphere and rhizoplane regions of tobacco plants, and to compare communities from transgenic tobacco lines (CAB1, CAB2 and TRP) with those found in wild-type (WT) plants. Samples were collected at two stages of plant development, the vegetative and flowering stages (1 and 3 months after germination). The diversity of the culturable microbial community was assessed by isolation and further characterization of isolates by amplified ribosomal RNA gene restriction analysis (ARDRA) and 16S rRNA sequencing. These analyses revealed the presence of fairly common rhizosphere organisms with the main groups Alphaproteobacteria, Betaproteobacteria, Actinobacteria and Bacilli. Analysis of the total bacterial communities using PCR-DGGE (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis) revealed that shifts in bacterial communities occurred during early plant development, but the reestablishment of original community structure was observed over time. The effects were smaller in rhizosphere than in rhizoplane samples, where selection of specific bacterial groups by the different plant lines was demonstrated. Clustering patterns and principal components analysis (PCA) were used to distinguish the plant lines according to the fingerprint of their associated bacterial communities. Bands differentially detected in plant lines were found to be affiliated with the genera Pantoea, Bacillus and Burkholderia in WT, CAB and TRP plants, respectively. The data revealed that, although rhizosphere/rhizoplane microbial communities can be affected by the cultivation of transgenic plants, soil resilience may be able to restore the original bacterial diversity after one cycle of plant cultivation.