Aiming an infrared laser beam at the site of a muscle injury on the leg of a mouse activates DNA-loaded gold nanorods that have been injected into the tissue, spurring growth and differentiation of muscle cells. The laser beam heats the nanorods, thereby unzipping the double-stranded DNA molecules bound to them and releasing a single-stranded DNA targeted to the receptor protein MET. When this DNA binds to MET receptors on the muscle cells, the complex triggers downstream signaling, which in turn activates the growth of new muscle tissue.

© george retseck

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