In vaccination programmes in which large numbers of subjects are involved, the oral route of administration is more convenient as compared to the more frequently used parenteral route. This is particularly relevant when vaccines are to be applied in less industrialized countries. Lactic acid bacteria in general and strains of Lactobacillus in particular have a variety of properties which make them attractive candidates for oral vaccination purposes, e.g. GRAS status, adjuvant properties, mucosal adhesive properties and low intrinsic immunogenicity. An overview is given of current research aimed at unravelling the relationship between structure and properties of surface proteins of lactobacilli and in vivo colonization, in particular of species capable of adhering to epithelial cells in vitro. Secondly, the state of the art will be discussed with respect to antigen presentation by lactic acid bacteria. Finally, some preliminary immunological data of recombinant lactic acid bacterial strains expressing antigens from pathogens will be presented.