Valentín-Guillama G., Kucheryavykh, L.

Patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) are more prone to developing cancers, including glioblastomas (GBMs). The median survival for GBM patients with HIV is significantly shorter than for HIV-negative GBM patients, even though they receive the same treatments. This difference indicates that HIV infection is associated with more aggressive tumor behavior and with treatment resistance. Earlier we demonstrated that gp120, a main glycoprotein in the HIV shell, stimulates glycolysis and protein synthesis in glioma cells.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the underlying gp120 dependent signaling mechanism in glioma cell. Mouse glioma cells GL-261 were continuously cultured for 7 days in medium with and without soluble gp120 Bal III (100ng/ml) and collected for Western blot and Cell cycle assays.

Western blot analysis presented an increase in phosphorylation of Proline-rich tyrosine kinase (Pyk2(Y402)), p38(YT100/Y182) and p70s6(T421/S424), the key proteins of the Pyk2 pathway, along with the increased levels of Akt(S473) and Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3b (GSK3b (S9)) phosphorylation. Flow cytometry analysis of Cell Cycle revealed an increase of G2/M phase in cells cultured in gp120 Bal III when compared to control cells. Furthermore, GL-261 cells with knock-out of Pyk2 via CRISPR Cas 9 gene editing showed no significant change in cell cycle regulation when cultured with gp120 Bal III.

Overall, these results demonstrate that gp120 triggers activation of Pyk2/MAPK and Akt/GSK3b pathways and alter cell cycle regulation in GBM.

This research was made possible by NIH grant number 1SC1GM122691

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