Carbon starvation has been shown to induce a massive dispersal event in biofilms of the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa; however, the molecular pathways controlling this dispersal response remain unknown. We quantified changes in the proteome of P. aeruginosa PAO1 biofilm and planktonic cells during glucose starvation by differential peptide-fingerprint mass-spectrometry (iTRAQ). In addition, we monitored dispersal photometrically, as a decrease in turbidity/opacity of biofilms pre-grown and starved in continuous flow-cells, in order to evaluate treatments (e.g. inhibitors CCCP, arsenate, chloramphenicol, L-serine hydroxamate) and key mutants altered in biofilm development and dispersal (e.g. nirS, vfr, bdlA, rpoS, lasRrhlR, Pf4-bacteriophage and cyaA). In wild-type biofilms, dispersal started within five minutes of glucose starvation, was maximal after 2 h, and up to 60% of the original biomass had dispersed after 24 h of starvation. The changes in protein synthesis were generally not more than two fold and indicated that more than 100 proteins belonging to various classes, including carbon and energy metabolism, stress adaptation, and motility, were differentially expressed. For the different treatments, only the proton-ionophore CCCP or arsenate, an inhibitor of ATP synthesis, prevented dispersal of the biofilms. For the different mutants tested, only cyaA, the synthase of the intracellular second messenger cAMP, failed to disperse; complementation of the cyaA mutation restored the wild-type phenotype. Hence, the pathway for carbon starvation-induced biofilm dispersal in P. aeruginosa PAO1 involves ATP production via direct ATP synthesis and proton-motive force dependent step(s) and is mediated through cAMP, which is likely to control the activity of proteins involved in remodeling biofilm cells in preparation for planktonic survival.