OBJECTIVE AND DESIGN Predisposition to opportunistic infections by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) is a concomitant of HIV-1 infection and occurrence of tuberculosis is independent of circulating CD4(+) T-cell count in HIV-1-infected patients. Infection of mononuclear phagocytes from healthy individuals by virulent MTB is associated with expression of the antiapoptotic molecule protease inhibitor 9 (PI-9), and PI-9 contributes to successful parasitism of macrophages by MTB. Here we studied the contribution of PI-9 to successful MTB infection of monocytes from HIV-1-infected patients. METHODS Blood monocytes obtained from HAART-treated HIV-1-infected patients (HIV+) and healthy controls were assessed for support of MTB H37Rv growth by assessment of MTB 16S ribosomal (r)RNA in cell lysates on day 1 and day 7 by real-time reverse transcription-PCR. PI-9 expression in monocyte cell lysates was assessed by ELISA and by reverse transcription-PCR. Inhibition of intracellular PI-9 was achieved by siRNA to PI-9 and compared to control constructs. RESULTS Monocytes from HIV-infected patients supported higher MTB growth [MTB 16S rRNA (d7/d1)] as compared with monocytes from healthy controls. Both PI-9 protein and mRNA were significantly higher in monocytes from HIV-infected patients as compared with healthy controls. PI-9 protein levels prior to MTB infection correlated with MTB replication on day 7, and with plasma soluble CD14 levels. Silencing of PI-9 by transfection of monocytes from HIV-1-infected patients with PI-9-specific siRNA prior to infection improved intracellular containment of MTB. CONCLUSION Increased intracellular PI-9 activity in mononuclear phagocytes from HIV-infected patients contributes to successful intracellular infection by virulent MTB.