Liposomes appear to be a promising oral antigen delivery system for the development of vaccines against infectious diseases, although their uptake efficiency by Peyer's patches in the gut and the subsequent induction of mucosal immunoglobulin A (IgA) responses remain a major concern. Aiming at targeted delivery of liposomal immunogens, we have previously reported the conjugation via a thioether bond of the G(M1) ganglioside-binding subunit of cholera toxin (CTB) to the liposomal outer surface. In the present study, we have investigated the effectiveness of liposomes containing the saliva- binding region (SBR) of Streptococcus mutans AgI/II adhesin and possessing surface-linked recombinant CTB (rCTB) in generating mucosal (salivary, vaginal, and intestinal) IgA as well as serum IgG responses to the parent molecule, AgI/II. Responses in mice given a single oral dose of the rCTB- conjugated liposomes were compared to those in mice given one of the following unconjugated liposome preparations: (i) empty liposomes, (ii) liposomes containing SBR, (iii) liposomes containing SBR and coadministered with rCTB, and (iv) liposomes containing SBR plus rCTB. Three weeks after the primary immunization, significantly higher levels of mucosal IgA and serum IgG antibodies to AgI/II were observed in the rCTB-conjugated group than in mice given the unconjugated liposome preparations, although the latter mice received a booster dose at week 9. The antibody responses in mice immunized with rCTB-conjugated liposomes persisted at high levels for at least 6 months, at which time (week 26) a recall immunization significantly augmented the responses. In general, mice given unconjugated liposome preparations required one or two booster immunizations to develop a substantial anti- AgI/II antibody response, which was more prominent in the group given coencapsulated SBR and rCTB. These data indicate that conjugation of rCTB to liposomes greatly enhances their effectiveness as an antigen delivery system. This oral immunization strategy should be applicable for the development of vaccines against oral, intestinal, or sexually transmitted diseases.