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Decoding Viral Infection: Select the True Statement About Viral Infection of a Host Cell.

select the true statement about viral infection of a host cell.

Ever wondered how a tiny virus can take control of a host cell and turn it into a virus-producing factory? That’s what we’re going to unpack in this article. We’ll delve into the fascinating world of viral infections, specifically focusing on how these microscopic invaders hijack host cells.

Select the True Statement About Viral Infection of a Host Cell.

The first step in a viral infection of a host cell is the attachment and entry phase. The virus uses its proteins to identify and bind to specific receptors on the host cell’s surface. This attachment is uniquely specific, kind of like a lock and key mechanism. The true statement about viral infection is that without a proper ‘key’, the virus cannot unlock entry into the host cell.

Once attached, the virus dupes the host cell into letting it in. There are two main ways this happens – either the virus tricks the cell into absorbing it (a process known as endocytosis), or the virus fuses its membrane with the host cell membrane, effectively pushing its contents inside.


After the virus has gained entry into the host cell, it starts its replication process. The objective – create as many copies as possible for its survival and spread. In this phase, the incoming virus uses its genetic material – that can be either DNA or RNA – to take over the cell’s internal machinery.

The method of creating identical copies of the virus varies according to the nature of its genetic material. For instance, DNA viruses often use the host cell’s DNA replication machinery. In contrast, RNA viruses commonly utilize the viral enzyme reverse transcriptase to form complementary DNA (cDNA) from its RNA template, later using the cDNA to produce viral RNA.

Assembly and Release

Once there are enough viral components inside the host cell, the virus can finally begin the process of assembly. The newly synthesized viral proteins and genetic material are put together to form new viral particles. Remarkably, some of the viral enzymes are so tailored that they recognize and interact only with each other, ensuring correct assembly.

Post-assembly, these ready-to-infect viruses need to be released from the host cell. This final stage can occur through multiple methods – the commonly seen one being cell lysis, where the cell bursts open, releasing the newly formed viruses. At times, viruses might use budding, a less destructive method, where viruses leave the cell while simultaneously acquiring the host’s membrane to use as their own.

Impact of Viral Infection on Host Cell

In continuing our discussion about viral infections, we’ll now delve into the impact of a viral invasion on the host cell. It’s key to understand how viruses, once they’ve sneaked into our bodies, affect our cells. This provides a deeper understanding of the battle that goes inside us when we’re fighting off a viral disease.

Cell Death and Damage

A crucial aspect of viral infection is the impact it has on Cell Death and Damage. Viruses can cause significant harm to the host’s cells that they use as their replication machinery. They hijack the host cell’s resources, causing the cell to work overtime, ultimately leading to its destruction. For instance, viruses such as HIV and influenza can cause a type of cell death known as apoptosis, or programmed cell death. This isn’t like accidental cellular death. Instead, it’s a deliberate, ordered process where the cell self-destructs as a result of the viral invasion.

However, not all viral invasions result in cell death. Some viruses like herpes simplex virus and cytomegalovirus can establish a latent infection, where the virus is present but doesn’t actively replicate. Yet, while the infected cells survive, they may not function as they normally would.

Alteration of Cellular Functions

Our bodies are a complex network of cells, each performing a specific function. But when a virus invades a cell, cellular functions can be significantly altered. Some viruses, like the measles virus, can cause a suppression of the immune system, leading to increased susceptibility to other infections. On the other hand, viruses such as the Epstein-Barr virus can cause infected cells to grow and divide uncontrollably, leading to conditions like cancer.

Moreover, viral infection can disrupt regular protein synthesis in the host cell – this means that necessary proteins aren’t produced as they should be. In many cases, viruses use the protein-making machinery of the host cell to build more of their own viral proteins. This “misdirection” can seriously affect the normal functions of the cell and have widespread effects on the health of the host organism.

As we see, a viral infection can inflict significant damage on host cells, causing various diseases and altering the normal functions of the cell. Studying the impact of viral infections will help us better understand these harmful invaders and devise ways to combat them efficiently.

So, while viruses may be disruptive, our growing understanding of their behavior is a beacon of hope. This knowledge is our key to unlocking new and effective ways to protect our cells and our health from the onslaught of viral infections.