Bacteriocins are contractile molecular syringes — nanomachines produced by one bacterium that can puncture the cell membrane of another bacterium to deliver a lethal punch. In this week’s issue of Nature and featured on the cover, STROBE UCLA scientist Hong Zhou and his colleagues present high-resolution structures of the bacteriocin pyocin R2 from P. aeruginosa – in both its preand post-contraction states. The results allow the researchers to suggest in detail how the molecular syringe works, offering insight into how R-type bacteriocins might be developed into a new class of antimicrobials. This work was featured in the April 2020 cover of Nature.