This study tested the feasibility of oral immunotherapy for bronchial asthma using a newly developed subunit vaccine in which a fragment (p45–145) of mite allergen (Der p 1) containing immunodominant human and mouse T cell epitopes was encapsulated in endoplasmic reticulum-derived protein bodies of transgenic (Tg) rice seed. Allergen-specific serum immunoglobulin responses, T cell proliferation, Th1/Th2 cytokine production, airway inflammatory cell infiltration, bronchial hyper-responsiveness (BHR) and lung histology were investigated in allergen-immunized and -challenged mice. Prophylactic oral vaccination with the Tg rice seeds clearly reduced the serum levels of allergen-specific IgE and IgG. Allergen-induced CD4+ T cell proliferation and production of Th2 cytokines in vitro, infiltration of eosinophils, neutrophils and mononuclear cells into the airways and BHR were also inhibited by oral vaccination. The effects of the vaccine were antigen-specific immune response because the levels of specific IgE and IgG in mice immunized with Der f 2 or ovalbumin were not significantly suppressed by oral vaccination with the Der p 1 expressing Tg rice. Thus, the vaccine does not induce nonspecific bystander suppression, which has been a problem with many oral tolerance regimens. These results suggest that our novel vaccine strategy is a promising approach for allergen-specific oral immunotherapy against allergic diseases including bronchial asthma.