Molecular genetics of drug resistance in mycobacterium tuberculosis

Ying Zhang, Douglas Young

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Tuberculosis (TB) is the single largest killer among infectious diseases. The recent resurgence of TB together with outbreaks of multidrug resistant tuberculosis has focused attention on understanding the mechanisms of such drug resistance. Because of the relative neglect of TB research in the past and late arrival of mycobacterial genetic tools, the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance in TB remained largely unknown until very recently. In this paper we review recent progress on the mechanisms of resistance to three major anti-TB drugs; isoniazid, rifampicin and streptomycin. While the resistance mechanisms for rifampicin and streptomycin are similar to those found in other bacteria, isoniazid susceptibility and resistance is unique to Mycobacterium tuberculosis. So far, mutations in two chromosomal loci, katG and inhA have been found to be involved in isoniazid resistance in TB. Identification and characterization of mutations responsible for resistance opens up new possibilities for rapid detection of drug resistant strains. Molecular understanding of drug resistance and drug action in M. tuberculosis may eventually lead to rational design of new anti-TB drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-319
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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