The emergence of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis has renewed interest in the study of drug resistance in mycobacteria with the objective of improved chemotherapy. The genetic basis of isoniazid resistance in a model mycobacterium was studied. Eleven isoniazid-resistant mutants of Mycobacterium smegmatis were created using transposon mutagenesis. Genetic and enzymatic characterisation of the mutants showed that katG, encoding T-catalase, was inactivated. The nucleotide sequence of M. smegmatis katG was determined and the mutation sites mapped demonstrating that both the amino and carboxyl halves of T-catalase are important for enzymatic activity.