Patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) are more prone to developing cancers, including glioblastomas (GBMs). The median survival for HIV positive GBM patients is significantly shorter than for those who are uninfected, despite the fact that they receive the same treatments. The nature of the GBM⁻HIV association remains poorly understood. In this study, we analyzed the effect of the HIV envelope glycoprotein gp120 on GBM cell proliferation. Specifically, we performed cell cycle, western blot, protein synthesis and metabolomics analysis as well as ATP production and oxygen consumption assays to evaluate proliferation and metabolic pathways in primary human glioma cell line, U87, A172 cells and in the HIVgp120tg/GL261 mouse model. Glioma cells treated with gp120 (100 ng/mL for 7⁻10 days) showed higher proliferation rates and upregulation in the expression of enolase 2, hexokinase and glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase when compared to untreated cells. Furthermore, we detected an increase in the activity of pyruvate kinase and a higher glycolytic index in gp120 treated cells. Gp120 treated GBM cells also showed heightened lipid and protein synthesis. Overall, we demonstrate that in glioma cells, the HIV envelope glycoprotein promotes proliferation and activation of glycolysis resulting in increased protein and lipid synthesis.
Keywords: HIV; glioma; glycolysis; gp120.