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Life Science Zurich Communication & Events

Like bacteria firing spearguns

The newly discovered injection nanomachine of cyanobacteria is located in an unusual place, namely in the thylakoid membrane (green). (Graphic: from Weiss G., et al, Nature Microbiology 2022)

Many bacteria have sophisticated molecular injection devices that are used to do some amazing things. For example, a bacterium inoculates certain molecules into a worm larva via such a nanomachine composed of proteins, which triggers the transformation of the larva into an adult worm. Other bacteria use such molecular weapons to kill foreign strains of bacteria or insect larvae, or they defend themselves against scavenger cells.

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