High-intensity femtosecond lasers have recently been used to irreversibly disrupt nanoscale structures, such as intracellular organelles, and to modify biological functions in a reversible manner: so-called nanosurgery and biophotomodulation. Femtosecond laser pulses above the threshold intensity sufficient for reversible biophotomodulation can cause irreversible changes in the irradiated cell, eventually leading to cell death. Here, we demonstrated that cytosolic irradiation with a femtosecond laser produced intrinsic cascades of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which led to rapid apoptosis-like cell death via a caspase and poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP-1) signaling pathway. We further showed that cells with enhanced mitochondrial fusion activity are more resilient to laser-induced stress compared to those with enforced mitochondrial fission. Taken together, these findings provide fundamental insight into how optical stimulation intervenes in intrinsic cellular signaling pathways and functions.