A "toxic harpoon" used by bacteria may reveal new possibilities for creating antibiotics.
A study of one of the weapons that bacteria use to defeat rivals has revealed a new approach for potential antibiotics.
The finding could lead to a new class of antibiotics, as well as providing a method for finding other new targets by exploiting the tricks of bacterial warfare.
Different species, and even different strains of the same species of bacteria, can compete for resources by launching weapons that impair or kill their competitors. One of these weapons is the 'Type VI secretion system' (T6SS), a microscopic harpoon, which several bacteria use to fire toxic arrows at other bacteria.