Intramacrophage protozoan parasite Leishmania donovani, causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis, escapes Toll-like receptor (TLR) dependent early host immune response by inducing the deubiquitinating enzyme A20, which is sustained up to 6 h postinfection only. Therefore, Leishmania must apply other means to deactivate late host responses. Here, we elucidated the role of IL-1 receptor-associated kinase M (IRAK-M), a negative regulator of TLR signaling, in downregulating macrophage proinflammatory response during late hours of in vitro infection. Our data reveal a sharp decline in IRAK1 and IRAK4 phosphorylation at 24 h postinfection along with markedly reduced association of IRAK1-TNF receptor associated factor 6, which is mandatory for TLR activation. In contrast, IRAK-M was induced after A20 levels decreased and reached a maximum at 24 h postinfection. IRAK-M induction coincided with increased stimulation of TGF-β, a hallmark cytokine of visceral infection. TGF-β-dependent signaling-mediated induction of SMAD family of proteins, 2, 3, and 4 plays important roles in transcriptional upregulation of IRAK-M. In infected macrophages, siRNA-mediated silencing of IRAK-M displayed enhanced IRAK1 and IRAK4 phosphorylation with a concomitant increase in downstream NF-κB activity and reduced parasite survival. Taken together, the results suggest that IRAK-M may be targeted by L. donovani to inhibit TLR-mediated proinflammatory response late during in vitro infection. © 2015 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.