Resistance to isoniazid and ethionamide in Mycobacterium tuberculosis: Genes, mutations, and causalities

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

191 Scopus citations


Isoniazid (INH) is the cornerstone of tuberculosis (TB) chemotherapy, used for both treatment and prophylaxis of TB. The antimycobacterial activity of INH was discovered in 1952, and almost as soon as its activity was published, the first INH-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains were reported. INH and its structural analog and second-line anti-TB drug ethionamide (ETH) are pro-drugs. INH is activated by the catalaseperoxidase KatG, while ETH is activated by the monooxygenase EthA. The resulting active species reacts with NAD+ to form an INH-NAD or ETH-NAD adduct, which inhibits the enoyl ACP reductase InhA, leading to mycolic acid biosynthesis inhibition and mycobacterial cell death. The major mechanism of INH resistance is mutation in katG, encoding the activator of INH. One specific KatG variant, S315T, is found in 94% of INH-resistant clinical isolates. The second mechanism of INH resistance is a mutation in the promoter region of inhA (c-15t), which results in inhA overexpression and leads to titration of the drug. Mutations in the inhA open reading frame and promoter region are also the major mechanism of resistance to ETH, found more often in ETH-resistant clinical isolates than mutations in the activator of ETH. Other mechanisms of resistance to INH and ETH include expression changes of the drugs' activators, redox alteration, drug inactivation, and efflux pump activation. In this article, we describe each known mechanism of resistance to INH and ETH and its importance in M. tuberculosis clinical isolates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberMGM2-0014-2013
JournalMicrobiology Spectrum
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Resistance to isoniazid and ethionamide in Mycobacterium tuberculosis: Genes, mutations, and causalities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this