Mammals have evolved surface pattern recognition receptors, such as the Toll-like receptors, to initiate defenses against pathogens, including mycobacterium. In turn, microbes have developed strategies to circumvent defenses of their host and establish persistent infections. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, one of the most successful pathogens worldwide, has the ability to parasitize and manipulate phagocytic cells of its human host. A set of recent reports has shed light on exploitation of phagocyte surface lectins by the tubercle bacillus. These findings could lead the way to innovative therapeutic approaches.