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Med Sci (Paris). 2006 Jun-Jul;22(6-7):651-8.

[Laser nanosurgery in cell biology].

[Article in French]

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Laboratoire Européen de Biologie Moléculaire, LEBM, Meyerhofstrasse 1, D-69117 Heidelberg, Allemagne.


Since their first use in the early 60's, pulsed lasers have become increasingly popular for their ability to ablate biological tissue. Short laser pulses allow high precision surgery for biological and medical applications with minimal invasiveness. Performing highly targeted manipulation and ablation allows experiments impossible so far in development biology, cellular biology or even assisted reproductive technologies and laser surgery has been increasingly used over the last five years to answer key questions in Biology. Recently, picosecond UV and femtosecond IR laser pulses have been used to cleave microtubules and to severe actin stress fibers in vivo with a spatial precision in the submicrometer range to study their dynamics without affecting cell viability. We review recent findings on the underlying principles of pulsed laser nanosurgery mechanisms showing how the use of ultra short laser pulses increases precision and non-invasiveness of laser surgery. We show how the understanding of the surgical process allows one to distinguish between single cell ablation in living organisms or intracellular nanosurgery in living cells and we review recent applications to the study of forces and the quantification of cytoskeleton dynamics.

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