There has been great interest in identifying the biological substrate for light-cell interaction and their relations to cancer treatment. In this study, a near-infrared (NIR) laser is focused into the nucleus (nNIR) or cytoplasm (cNIR) of a single living cell by a high numerical aperture condenser to dissect the novel role of cell nucleus in mediating NIR effects on mitochondrial dynamics of A549 non-small cell lung cancer cells. Our analysis showed that nNIR, but not cNIR, triggered mitochondrial fission in 10 min. In contrast, the fission/fusion balance of mitochondria directly exposed to cNIR does not change. While the same phenomenon is also triggered by single molecular interactions between epidermal growth factor (EGF) and its receptor EGFR, pharmacological studies with cetuximab, PD153035, and caffeine suggest EGF signaling crosstalk to DNA damaging response to mediate rapid mitochondrial fission as a result of nNIR irradiation. These results suggest that nuclear DNA integrity is a novel biological target for cellular response to NIR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number624
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Caffeine
  • Cetuximab
  • Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)
  • Mitochondrial dynamic
  • Mitochondrial fragmentation count (MFC)
  • Near infrared (NIR)
  • PD153035

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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