We report the discovery and confirmation of 23 novel mutations with previously undocumented role in isoniazid (INH) drug resistance, in catalase-peroxidase (katG) gene of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) isolates. With these mutations, a synonymous mutation in fabG1 (g609a), and two canonical mutations, we were able to explain 98% of the phenotypic resistance observed in 366 clinical Mtb isolates collected from four high tuberculosis (TB)-burden countries: India, Moldova, Philippines, and South Africa. We conducted overlapping targeted and whole-genome sequencing for variant discovery in all clinical isolates with a variety of INH-resistant phenotypes. Our analysis showed that just two canonical mutations (katG 315AGC-ACC and inhA promoter-15C-T) identified 89.5% of resistance phenotypes in our collection. Inclusion of the 23 novel mutations reported here, and the previously documented point mutation in fabG1, increased the sensitivity of these mutations as markers of INH resistance to 98%. Only six (2%) of the 332 resistant isolates in our collection did not harbor one or more of these mutations. The third most prevalent substitution, at inhA promoter position -8, present in 39 resistant isolates, was of no diagnostic significance since it always co-occurred with katG 315. 79% of our isolates harboring novel mutations belong to genetic group 1 indicating a higher tendency for this group to go down an uncommon evolutionary path and evade molecular diagnostics. The results of this study contribute to our understanding of the mechanisms of INH resistance in Mtb isolates that lack the canonical mutations and could improve the sensitivity of next generation molecular diagnostics.
Journal: Emerging microbes and infections