The kinetic of mucosal secretory responses elicited by the vaccine vector Salmonella enterica var. typhimurium (S. typhimurium) was examined by enzyme linked immunospot (ELISPOT) and compared with serum responses. Mice immunised orally with BRD509, the aroA, aroD mutant of virulent S. typhimurium SL1344 expressing the C Fragment of tetanus toxin (TT), simultaneously developed an IgA antibody secreting cells (ASC) response in the gastrointestinal lamina propria, the spleen and the lung, against both S. typhimurium lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and TT. The magnitude of the ASC response was greatest in the gut, was boosted by a secondary immunisation at day 25, and the kinetic of the response did not correlate with the appearance of serum antibodies. This study suggests that S. typhimurium can engage the common mucosal immune system to effect mucosal secretory responses at distal sites, however, the magnitude of the responses is both greatest in the gut and antigen-specific. The ASC origin of the serum antibodies specific for S. typhimurium and antigens expressed by the bacterium is yet to be elucidated. (C) 2000 Federation of European Microbiological Societies.