Compensatory ahpC Gene Expression in Isoniazid-Resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis

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Science  14 Jun 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5268, pp. 1641-1643
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5268.1641


Mutations that eliminate KatG catalase-peroxidase activity prevent activation of isoniazid and are a major mechanism of resistance to this principal drug for the treatment of Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections. However, the loss of KatG activity in clinical isolates seemed paradoxical because KatG is considered an important factor for the survival of the organism. Expression of either KatG or the recently identified alkyl hydroperoxidase AhpC was sufficient to protect bacilli against the toxic effects of organic peroxides. To survive during infection, isoniazid-resistant KatG mutants have apparently compensated for the loss of KatG catalase-peroxidase activity by a second mutation, resulting in hyperexpression of AhpC.

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