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J Biomed Opt. 2007 Mar-Apr;12(2):024022.

Laser nanosurgery of single microtubules reveals location-dependent depolymerization rates.

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  • 1University of California at Irvine, Beckman Laser Institute, Irvine, California 92612, USA.


In this study, 532-nm picosecond and 800-nm femtosecond lasers are used in combination with fluorescently labeled tubulin to further elucidate microtubule depolymerization and the effect lasers may have on the resulting depolymerization. Depolymerization rates of targeted single microtubules are dependent on location with respect to the nucleus. Microtubules located near the nucleus exhibit a significantly faster depolymerization rate when compared to microtubule depolymerization rates near the periphery of the cell. Microtubules cut with the femtosecond laser depolymerize at a slower rate than unirradiated controls (p=0.002), whereas those cut with the picosecond laser depolymerize at the same rate as unirradiated controls (p=0.704). Our results demonstrate the ability of both the picosecond and femtosecond lasers to cut individual microtubules. The differences between the two ablation results are discussed.

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