Isoniazid (INH) is the cornerstone of the anti-tuberculosis regimens and emergence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) resistant strains is a major threat to our ability to control tuberculosis (TB) at global level. Mutations in the gene coding the catalase KatG confer resistance to high level of INH. In this paper, we describe for the first time a complete deletion of the genomic region containing the katG gene in an Mtb clinical strain isolated in Italy in a patient with HIV infection that previously completed INH preventive therapy. We genotypically characterized the Mtb strain and showed that katG deletion confers high-level resistance to INH (MIC > 25.6 μg/mL). The katG deletion did not impact significantly on Mtb fitness as we did not detect enhanced susceptibility to HO compared to the wild type Mtb strains nor impaired growth in in vitro infection models. These findings highlight the ability of Mtb to acquire resistance to INH while maintaining fitness and pathogenic potential.
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