Initial transport kinetics of isoniazid (INH) and its uptake at the plateau were studied in H37Rv under various experimental conditions. The initial uptake velocity increased linearly with INH concentration from 2 x 10 M to 10 M. It was modified neither by addition of a protonophore that abolished proline transport, nor following ATP depletion by arsenate, which inhibited glycerol uptake, two transport processes taken as controls for secondary active transport and facilitated diffusion, respectively. Microaerobiosis or low temperature (4 °) were without effect on initial uptake. It is thus likely that INH transport in proceeds by a passive diffusion mechanism, and that catalase-peroxidase (KatG) is not involved in the actual transport. However, conditions inhibiting KatG activity (high INH concentration, microaerobiosis, low temperature) decrease cell radioactivity at the uptake plateau. It is proposed that INH transport occurs by passive diffusion. KatG is involved only in the intracellular accumulation of oxidized derivatives of INH, especially of isonicotinic acid, which is trapped inside cells in its ionized form. This model explains observed and previously known characteristics of the accumulation of radioactivity in the presence of [C]INH for various species and strains of mycobacteria.


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