Molecular Pencil Sharpener (IMAGE) Rutgers University Caption In this depiction of a "molecular pencil sharpener," the pentagons are chemicals that make a "warhead" toxic once it is "sharpened" by Tld - bacterial proteins. The proteins are inactive until a "leader" -- the pencil wood surrounding the graphite in this portrayal -- is removed. The wood shavings inside the sharpener are the remains of the leader being chopped up by the proteins, releasing a powerful antibiotic that kills E. coli bacteria. Credit Dmitry Ghilarov/Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology and David Lawson/John Innes Centre Usage Restrictions None License Licensed content Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.