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Name: Shanthea R.
Status: Student
Age: 10
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: November 2003

What is a host cell?

It depends on a lot of things. Usually a host cell is one that has some other organism living inside of it. For example, viruses can only multiply by living inside of another cell. The cell it is living in is called the host cell. Cells that have bacteria inside them are also called host cells.


Hi Shanthea! A host cell usually is the name given to one cell that was infected by a virus or a bacteria, for example. It becames the host cell of that virus or bacteria, and the cell/whole organism may become ill.

In that conditions the "guest", pathogens, obtains nourishment from the host and also effective conditions for reproduction and growing. But also the host protects itself evolving defenses and resistence to further invasions. The study of host cell - pathogens interactions is very important and help the scientists to discover medicines to fight the diseases caused by the pathogens invasion.

And thanks for asking NEWTON!

(Dr. Mabel Rodrigues)

A host cell is a general term which refers to any cell which is infected by a virus. Just as you are a host when you have guest over to your house, a cell is a host when a virus enters the cell (although in this case, the virus is an unwelcome guest!).

Paul Mahoney

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