The immune mechanisms that control resistance vs. susceptibility to mycobacterial infection in humans were investigated by studying leprosy skin lesions, the site where the battle between the host and the pathogen is joined. Using an integrative genomics approach, we found an inverse correlation between of IFN-beta and IFN-gamma gene expression programs at the site of disease. The Type II IFN, IFN-gamma and its downstream vitamin D-dependent antimicrobial genes were preferentially expressed in the lesions from patients with the self-healing tuberculoid form of the disease and mediated antimicrobial activity against the pathogen, Mycobacterium leprae in vitro. In contrast, the Type I IFN, IFN-beta and its downstream genes, including IL-27 and IL-10, were induced in monocytes by M. leprae in vitro, and were preferentially expressed in the lesions of disseminated and progressive lepromatous form. The IFN-gamma induced macrophage antimicrobial response was inhibited by IFN-beta/IL-10, by a mechanism involving blocking the generation of bioactive 1,25-dihyroxy vitamin D as well as inhibiting induction of antimicrobial peptides cathelicidin and DEFB4. The ability of IFN-B to inhibit the IFN-gamma induced vitamin D pathway including antimicrobial activity was reversed by neutralization of IL-10, suggesting a possible target for therapeutic intervention. Finally, a common IFN-beta and IL-10 gene signature was identified in both the skin lesions of leprosy patients and in the peripheral blood of active tuberculosis patients. Together these data suggest that the ability of IFN-beta to downregulate protective IFN-gamma responses provides one general mechanism by which some bacterial pathogens of humans evade protective host responses and contribute to pathogenesis.