Battlefield Cell FAQ

Battlefield Cell FAQ

Human red blood cells in isotonic solution (.85% NaCl).
Dr. Dennis Kunkel/Getty Images

Q: How many cells does each human have?

A: Each of us has 120 trillion cells.

Q: How many types of cell are there?

A: There are more than 200 different types of cells that build brain, muscles and organs.

Q: How small is each human cell.

A: Each cell is so tiny that 40,000 of them could fit on the head of a pin.

Q: What keeps our cells functioning smoothly?

A: Millions of specialized proteins build structures that keep our cells functioning smoothly.

Q: How do proteins know what to do?

A: Each of our proteins has its own assignment, given to it by our DNA.

Q: What is DNA responsible for?

A: DNA is responsible for everything about us -- from our eye color to our height. It even has a say in some aspects of our personalities.

Q: What monitors our cells for signs of infection or damage?

A: White blood cells constantly patrol our bodies, looking for signs of damage or infection and communicating with the cells that make up the surrounding tissue.

Q: What is the adenovirus?

A: The adenovirus is one of 20 families of virus that can infect us. It's responsible for a wide range of illnesses -- from a simple cold to pneumonia.

Q: What is a virus's goal?

A: Viruses seek to breach a cell's outer defenses and reach the nucleus.

Q: What happens when a virus reaches a cell's nucleus?

A: Once inside a cell nucleus, a virus can take control of that cell's healthy DNA and replace it with its own destructive DNA.

Q: What do antibodies do?

A: Antibodies patrol the area between cells. Their job is to identify and neutralize viruses.

Q: What do endosomes do?

A: Endosomes break down nutrients into smaller molecules that are easier for the cell to transport and digest.

Q: What do mitochondria do?

A: Throughout each cell, hundreds of mitochondria feed energy to power the network of proteins that keep cells moving. They can be thought of as a cell's power stations.

Q: What are motor proteins?

A: Existing just beneath the cell's surface, motor proteins carry to the nucleus nutrients that have been processed by endosomes.

Q: What do ribosomes do?

A: Normally, ribosomes convert our DNA blueprints into proteins that are important to the cell. But when fed with viral instructions, they can start building the raw materials for a virus "army."

Q: What happens to a cell when its DNA becomes paralyzed by a virus?

A: The cell falls into decay; its only activity is that of the virus.

Q: What keeps a virus from spreading?

A: White blood cells usually devour the virus, even engulfing nearby cells that may be vulnerable to infection. (Some surrounding cells even destroy themselves to stop the virus from spreading.)

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