Characterization of pncA Mutations of Pyrazinamide-Resistant Mycobacterium Tuberculosis in Korea

J Korean Med Sci. 2001 Oct;16(5):537-43. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2001.16.5.537.


Pyrazinamide (PZA) is one of the most important drugs for the treatment of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection. However, the increasing frequency of PZA-resistant strains limits its effectiveness. In Korea, most PZA-resistant strains also exhibit both isoniazid and rifampin resistance making it essential to identify these resistant strains accurately and rapidly for effective treatment of mycobacterial infection. In this study, the characteristics and frequency of mutations of the pncA gene encoding pyrazinamidase were investigated in PZA-resistant clinical isolates from Korea. Automated DNA sequencing was used to evaluate the usefulness of DNA-based detection of PZA resistance. Among 95 PZA-resistant clinical isolates, 92 (97%) exhibited mutations potentially affecting either the production or the activity of the enzyme. Mutations were found throughout the pncA gene including the upstream region. Single nucleotide replacement appeared to be the major mutational event (69/92), although multiple substitutions as well as insertion and deletion of nucleotides were also identified. The high frequency of pncA mutations observed in this study supports the usefulness of DNA-based detection of PZA-resistant M. tuberculosis. Having verified the scattered and diverse mutational characteristics of the pncA gene, automated DNA sequencing seems to be the best strategy for rapid detection of PZA-resistant M. tuberculosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amidohydrolases / genetics*
  • Antitubercular Agents / pharmacology*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Mutation*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / drug effects*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / genetics
  • Pyrazinamide / pharmacology*


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Pyrazinamide
  • Amidohydrolases
  • pyrazinamide deamidase