Identification and analysis of mutations in the katG gene in multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis clinical isolates

Pneumonol Alergol Pol. 2013;81(4):298-307.


Introduction: A major role in the development of resistance of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to isoniazid (INH) is attributed to mutations in the katG gene coding for the catalase/peroxidase, an enzyme required for obtaining a pharmacologically active form of the drug. Analysis of mutations in the katG gene in M. tuberculosis strains may contribute to the development of reliable and rapid tests for detection of INH resistance. The aim of the study was to identify and characterize mutations in the katG gene in multidrug-resistant M. tuberculosis clinical isolates.

Material and methods: The study included 46 strains of M. tuberculosis, recovered from MDR-TB patients in Poland in 2004. Mutations in the katG gene were detected by comparing DNA sequences with the corresponding sequence of a wild-type reference laboratory strain (M. tuberculosis H37Rv). The obtained results were interpreted in the context of MIC values of INH and catalase activity of the strains tested.

Results: A total of 43 (93%) strains contained mutations in the katG gene. The most frequently observed were mutations at codon 315, found in 34 (74%) strains. Mutations at other codons were rare: 4 strains contained mutations at codon 463, 2 at codon 131 and another 2 at codon 234. Mutations at codons 68, 91, 101, 126, 128 and 194 were found in single strains only. Two strains, for which no mutations at codon 315 of the katG gene were identified, had a unique translation termination mutation, which would invariably result in polypeptide truncation leading to the generation of dysfunctional catalase polypeptides. Both these strains presented the highest MIC values for INH (80 and 100 μg/mL) and showed a complete loss of catalase activity. For the remaining 41 strains with katG mutations, the MICs of INH were within the range 0.2-10 μg/mL. Thirty-six (88%) of those strains retained their catalase activity.

Conclusions: Mutations at codon 315 within the katG gene, depending on their type might be useful for the prediction of INH resistance. Whereas the missense mutations do not affect the catalase activity or the level of INH resistance, the nonsense mutations result in high-level resistance to INH and a total loss of catalase activity.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics*
  • Catalase / genetics*
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial / genetics*
  • Isoniazid / pharmacology*
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Mutation*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / classification
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / drug effects*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / genetics*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification
  • Species Specificity


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Catalase
  • katG protein, Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Isoniazid