Autophagy functions in plant host immunity responses to pathogen infection. The molecular mechanisms and functions used by the citrus Huanglongbing (HLB)-associated intracellular bacterium ‘Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus’ (CLas) to manipulate autophagy are unknown. We identified a CLas effector, SDE4405 (CLIBASIA_04405), which contributes to HLB progression. ‘Wanjincheng’ orange (Citrus sinensis) transgenic plants expressing SDE4405 promotes CLas proliferation and symptom expression via suppressing host immunity responses. SDE4405 interacts with the ATG8-family of proteins (ATG8s), and their interactions activate autophagy in Nicotiana benthamiana. The occurrence of autophagy is also significantly enhanced in SDE4405-transgenic citrus plants. Interrupting NbATG8s-SDE4405 interaction by silencing of NbATG8c reduces Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato strain DC3000ΔhopQ1-1 (Pst DC3000ΔhopQ1-1) proliferation in N. benthamiana, and transient overexpression of CsATG8c and SDE4405 in citrus promotes Xanthomonas citri subsp. citri (Xcc) multiplication, suggesting that SDE4405-ATG8s interaction negatively regulates plant defense. These results demonstrate the role of the CLas effector protein in manipulating autophagy, and provide new molecular insights into the interaction between CLas and citrus hosts.