Colicins are unusual bacterial toxins because they are directed against close relatives of the producing strain. They kill their targets in one of three distinct ways; via a ribonuclease or deoxyribonuclease activity or by forming pores in the target cell's membrane. This review deals with the steps involved in pore-forming colicin activity including, initial synthesis of the toxin, toxin release, receptor binding, translocation across the periplasm and pore formation in the cytoplasmic membrane. Special reference is made to the role of colicin in vivo, the structural changes occurring during pore formation and the role of the immunity protein