The complete catalase-peroxidase (katG) gene DNA sequence was determined for 15 strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis with a wide range of susceptibility to isoniazid. Five of 9 strains with isoniazid MICs > or = 1.0 microgram/mL had one or more missense mutations and all 5 strains had a common G-->T transversion in codon 463, causing the replacement of arginine with leucine and the loss of an NciI or MspI restriction site. None of 6 strains with an isoniazid MIC < 1.0 microgram/mL had mutations affecting codon 463. Restriction analysis of 43 strains with isoniazid MICs > or = 1.0 microgram/mL showed that 19 (44.2%) had lost the NciI-MspI restriction site at the locus of codon 463 while only 1 of 32 strains with isoniazid MICs < or = 1.0 microgram/L had this restriction polymorphism. These results indicate that the mutation arginine-->leucine in codon 463 of the catalase-peroxidase gene occurs in a significant fraction (44.2%) of M. tuberculosis strains with isoniazid MICs > or = 1.0 microgram/mL.