Evaluation of genetic mutations associated with Mycobacterium tuberculosis resistance to amikacin, kanamycin and capreomycin: a systematic review

PLoS One. 2012;7(3):e33275. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033275. Epub 2012 Mar 29.


Background: Rapid molecular diagnostics for detecting multidrug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (M/XDR-TB) primarily identify mutations in Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) genes associated with drug resistance. Their accuracy, however, is dependent largely on the strength of the association between a specific mutation and the phenotypic resistance of the isolate with that mutation, which is not always 100%. While this relationship is well established and reliable for first-line anti-TB drugs, rifampin and isoniazid, it is less well-studied and understood for second-line, injectable drugs, amikacin (AMK), kanamycin (KAN) and capreomycin (CAP).

Methodology/principal findings: We conducted a systematic review of all published studies evaluating Mtb mutations associated with resistance to AMK, KAN, CAP in order to characterize the diversity and frequency of mutations as well as describe the strength of the association between specific mutations and phenotypic resistance in global populations. Our objective was to determine the potential utility and reliability of these mutations as diagnostic markers for detecting AMK, KAN and CAP resistance. Mutation data was reviewed for 1,585 unique clinical isolates from four continents and over 18 countries. Mutations in the rrs, tlyA, eis promoter and gidB genes were associated with AMK, KAN and/or CAP resistance.

Conclusions/significance: The rrs A1401G mutation was present in the majority of AMK, KAN and CAP resistant Mtb strains reviewed, but was also found in 7% of CAP susceptible strains. The 1401 mutation alone, however, was not found with sufficient frequency to detect more than 70-80% of global Mtb strains resistant to AMK and CAP, and 60% of strains resistant to KAN. Additional mutations in the rrs, eis promoter, tlyA and gidB genes appear to be associated with resistance and could improve sensitivity and specificity of future diagnostics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetyltransferases
  • Amikacin / pharmacology
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antigens, Bacterial / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Capreomycin / pharmacology
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Kanamycin / pharmacology
  • Methyltransferases / genetics
  • Mutation*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / drug effects*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / genetics*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / diagnosis
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Multidrug-Resistant / microbiology


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antigens, Bacterial
  • Bacterial Proteins
  • TlyA protein, Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Capreomycin
  • Kanamycin
  • Amikacin
  • Methyltransferases
  • Acetyltransferases
  • Eis protein, Mycobacterium tuberculosis