It has been reported recently that isoniazid resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis have lost the katG gene which encodes the catalase-peroxidase enzyme. A 35 mer oligonucleotide probe specific for the katG gene of M tuberculosis, 3' end-labelled with digoxigenin, was constructed and hybridised with DNA extracted from 26 clinical isolates of M tuberculosis under high stringency conditions. Twenty two of these isolates were resistant to 0.2 microgram/ml isoniazid and 20 to 1.0 microgram/ml isoniazid. Semiquantitative detection of catalase did not show any discrimination between isoniazid sensitive and resistant strains. The katG gene was present in all clinical strains of M tuberculosis. Therefore, complete deletion of the katG gene does not seem to be the mechanism of isoniazid resistance in M tuberculosis strains isolated from patients in India.
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