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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Feb 14;109(7):2549-54. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1121427109. Epub 2012 Jan 30.

Glut1-mediated glucose transport regulates HIV infection.

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  • 1Institut de Génétique Moléculaire de Montpellier, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Unité Mixte de Recherche 5535, F-34293 Montpellier Cedex 5, France.


Cell cycle entry is commonly considered to positively regulate HIV-1 infection of CD4 T cells, raising the question as to how quiescent lymphocytes, representing a large portion of the viral reservoir, are infected in vivo. Factors such as the homeostatic cytokine IL-7 have been shown to render quiescent T cells permissive to HIV-1 infection, presumably by transiently stimulating their entry into the cell cycle. However, we show here that at physiological oxygen (O(2)) levels (2-5% O(2) tension in lymphoid organs), IL-7 stimulation generates an environment permissive to HIV-1 infection, despite a significantly attenuated level of cell cycle entry. We identify the IL-7-induced increase in Glut1 expression, resulting in augmented glucose uptake, as a key factor in rendering these T lymphocytes susceptible to HIV-1 infection. HIV-1 infection of human T cells is abrogated either by impairment of Glut1 signal transduction or by siRNA-mediated Glut1 down-regulation. Consistent with this, we show that the susceptibility of human thymocyte subsets to HIV-1 infection correlates with Glut1 expression; single-round infection is markedly higher in the Glut1-expressing double-positive thymocyte population than in any of the Glut1-negative subsets. Thus, our studies reveal the Glut1-mediated metabolic pathway as a critical regulator of HIV-1 infection in human CD4 T cells and thymocytes.

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