Structural biologists including Michael G. Rossmann have obtained clearer pictures of how the T4 virus, long known to infect E. coli bacteria, alters its shape as it prepares to pierce its host's cell membrane. The complicated infection process requires a flower-like section of the virus, known as the baseplate, to shape-shift by dramatically changing the configuration of the numerous proteins that form it. The team has taken cryoelectron microscope images of the baseplate from different moments in the process and transformed them into a brief animated movie, helping scientists understand how infection occurs and possibly enabling them to apply this knowledge for the benefit of human patients in the future.