host cell


plural host cells
: a living cell invaded by or capable of being invaded by an infectious agent (such as a bacterium or a virus)
This drug integrates with the virus in a way that prevents it from attaching to host cells, and prevents viral replication of cells already infected.Donald M. Kaminsky
Once the protozoan invades the host cell, it apparently is shielded from the action of any drug.Burton J. Bogitsh et al.

Examples of host cell in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And if a virus does manage to invade a host cell, it will be targeted for destruction by memory T cells. WIRED, 19 Nov. 2023 If the signal comes from inside the cell — if the reason for death is damage to the genome, for instance — then the process starts with the mitochondria turning against their host cell. Quanta Magazine, 6 Mar. 2024 Yet in some cases, the virus takes off by rapid replication in host cells. Brian Murphy, Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2024 But if bacteria attack host cells indirectly (such as by secreting proteins that go on to harm host cells), then a larger dose of bacteria is necessary to infect the host, since the host-modifying secretions could be diluted by time and space. WIRED, 19 Nov. 2023 The coffee prevented entry of the SARS-CoV-2 infection by keeping the virus from entering host cells. Melissa Rudy, Fox News, 21 Nov. 2023 These will interfere with its ability to attach to a host cell, or single out the microbe for ingestion by cells called neutrophils. WIRED, 19 Nov. 2023 The virus would also need to tweak its hemagglutinin, the protein on its surface that locks onto host cells to initiate an infection. Andrew Joseph, STAT, 11 Aug. 2023 Receptors are the molecules on the surface of host cells that a virus exploits to enter those cells. Emma Worden-Sapper, The Conversation, 16 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'host cell.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1885, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of host cell was in 1885

Dictionary Entries Near host cell

Cite this Entry

“Host cell.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2024.

Medical Definition

host cell

: a living cell invaded by or capable of being invaded by an infectious agent (as a bacterium or a virus)
HIV makes Tat only after the virus gets inside a host cell.John Travis
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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