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Summary

Autophagy has been implicated as part of the innate immune system against different intracellular microorganisms. Mycobacterium marinum is the causative agent of the fish-tank granuloma and has been widely used as an alternative model to study pathogenic mycobacteria. In this report, we show an active interaction of M. marinum with the autophagic protein LC3, an event that requires pathogen viability and bacterial protein synthesis. Interestingly, M. marinum lacking the region of difference 1 (RD1) is unable to recruit LC3, indicating that a functional ESX-1 secretion system is an absolute requirement for this process. In addition, phagocytosis of the bacteria is also a condition for the LC3 rearrangement induced by M. marinum. We present evidence that this pathogen resides temporarily in a LC3-decorated compartment with late endocytic features but mostly devoid of lysosomal enzymes or degradative properties. In addition our results indicate that autophagy induction by rapamycin treatment leads to maturation of the M. marinum-containing compartment.