) variant tested provided protection comparable with that of RTA1-33/44-198 against supralethal intranasal ricin challenge as judged by animal survival and several biomarkers. To understand better how VLP substitutions and mutations near the VLP site impact epitope structure, we introduced a previously described thermal stabilizing disulfide bond (R48C/T77C) along with the D75N or V76I substitutions in RTA1-33/44-198. The D75N mutation was compatible with the adjacent stabilizing R48C/T77C disulfide bond and the Tm was unaffected, whereas the V76I mutation was less compatible with the adjacent disulfide bond involving C77. A crystal structure of the RTA1-33/44-198 R48C/T77C/D75N variant showed that the structural integrity of the immunogen was largely conserved and that a stable immunogen could be produced from E. coli. We conclude that it is feasible to disrupt the VLP site in RTA1-33/44-198 with little or no impact on apparent protein stability or protective efficacy in mice and such variants can be stabilized further by introduction of a disulfide bond.