Applying this approach, a variety of molecules, such as fluorescent dyes, proteins, antisense structures, and DNA, has been transfected in order to manipulate the cellular functions in different experimental settings. Antisense structures, for example, allow the efficient down regulation of the gene activity of a target, providing insights into the gene’s function. The delivery of proteins, as executing molecules in the cell, can exhibit an immediate effect on the cell behavior, allowing a minute observation of the intracellular kinetics.
Direct cell manipulation can be achieved with this approach as well. Increasing the nanoparticle concentration and/or the radiant exposure, effective cell destruction is induced. Using targeted nanoparticles (e.g. by antibody conjugation) in combination with spatially selective laser irradiation permits well-directed cell manipulation even in mixed cultures and potentially in tissues. Furthermore, excited gold nanoparticles can directly trigger cellular reactions, which can possibly be utilized for cell stimulation. The manifold possibilities of nanostructure assisted laser manipulation are still in development.