Mutations of rpoB associated with rifampin resistance were studied in 37 multidrug-resistant (MDR) clinical strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolated in Italy. At least one mutated codon was found in each MDR strain. It was always a single-base substitution leading to an amino acid change. Nine different rpoB alleles, three of which had not been reported before, were found. The relative frequencies of specific mutations in this sample were different from those previously reported from different geographical areas, since 22 strains (59.5%) carried the mutated codon TTG in position 531 (Ser3Leu) and 11 (29.7%) had GAC in position 526 (His3Asp).
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