Arylamine -acetyltransferase (NAT) in humans inactivates the anti-tubercular drug isoniazid (INH). Homologues of human NAT are present in and , where they can acetylate, and hence inactivate, INH. The role of mycobacterial NAT is not known but heterologous expression of the gene increases the INH resistance. The 085 kb gene is part of a gene cluster in . The gene is transcribed as a large, 75 kb mRNA as demonstrated by Northern analysis. A knockout strain of was generated by targeted disruption. The new strain was confirmed to be devoid of NAT activity. The growth of the knockout strain is considerably delayed compared with the wild-type, due to an extended lag phase. The knockout mutant has an increased sensitivity to INH as would be predicted. The NATs from and have a high degree of homology, except in the region of the C terminus. A specific polyclonal antiserum raised against recombinant NAT protein from is described that recognizes a stretch of about twenty residues within the C terminus of NAT. This highly specific antiserum will enable comparison of expression between isolates of .


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