How do fatty acid vesicles grow? Research in the Szostak lab has shown that when fatty acid micelles are added to a solution of pre-formed vesicles, the vesicles grow rapidly. A molecular model of this observation is shown on the left. Vesicle growth is thought occur first through the formation of a micelle shell around a vesicle. Individual fatty acids are transferred from the micelles to the outer leaflet of the vesicle membrane. Fatty acids may then flip from the outer leaflet to the inner leaflet (as illustrated in a previous animation on fatty acid dynamics), which allows the membrane bilayer to grow evenly.
There are about 100 different Clostridia species known so far. They are present in the stools of people with autism, schizophrenia, psychosis, severe depression, muscle paralysis and muscle tonus abnormalities and some other neurological and psychiatric conditions. Many Clostridia species are normal inhabitants of a human gut. For example Clostridium tetani is routinely found in the gut of healthy humans and animals. Everybody knows that tetanus is a deadly disease, due to an extremely powerful neurotoxin Clostridium tetani produces. Clostridium tetani, which lives in the gut, is normally controlled by the beneficial bacteria and does us no harm, because its toxin cannot get through the healthy gut wall. Unfortunately, patients, which we are talking about, do not have a healthy gut wall. In gut dysbiosis this powerful neurotoxin can get through the damaged gut lining and then cross the blood-brain barrier affecting the person’s mental development. Many other species of Clostridia (perfringens, novyi, septicum, histolyticum, sordelli, aerofoetidum, tertium, sporogenes, etc) produce toxins similar to tetanus toxin as well as many other toxins. Dr. William Shaw at Great Plains Laboratories describes in detail number of autistic children, who showed serious improvements in their development and biochemical tests while on anti-Clostridia medication. Unfortunately, as soon as the medication was stopped the children slipped back into autism, because these children do not have healthy gut flora to control Clostridia and not to allow their toxins through the gut lining into the bloodstream. In many cases Clostridia were not identified in the stools of these children, because Clostridia are strict anaerobes and are very difficult to study. We need to come up with some better ways of testing for these potent pathogens.