In this study we investigated the mucosal and systemic responses to two T-cell-independent polysaccharides, a serogroup f polysaccharide (formed of rhamnose glucose polymers [RGPs]) from Streptococcus mutans OMZ 175 and a mannan from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, covalently conjugated either to a linear peptide (peptide 3) or to a multiple-antigen peptide (MAP), both derived from S. mutans protein SR, an adhesin of the I/II protein antigen family of oral streptococci. Peptide 3 and MAP, which contained at least one B- and one T-cell epitope, were tested as carriers for the polysaccharides and as protective immunogens. Intragastric intubation of rats with the conjugates (RGPs-peptide 3, RGPs-MAP, mannan-peptide 3, and mannan-MAP) associated with liposomes produced salivary immunoglobulin A (IgA) antibodies which reacted with RGPs or mannan, peptide 3 or MAP, protein SR, and S. mutans or S. cerevisiae cells. Administration of conjugate boosters to the animals showed that both carriers conjugated to the polysaccharides were able to induce, in immunized animals, a salivary antipolysaccharide IgA memory. In contrast, animals primed and challenged with unconjugated polysaccharide showed no anamnestic response. Rats orally immunized with the conjugates also developed systemic primary antipolysaccharide and antipeptide IgM antibody responses which were characterized by a switch from IgM to IgG during the course of the secondary response. Data presented here demonstrated that both peptide 3 and the MAP construct can act as good carriers for orally administered polysaccharides. Unexpectedly, the use of a MAP did not further improve the immunogenicity of polysaccharides at the mucosal level; nevertheless, such a construct should be of great interest in overcoming the problem of genetic restriction induced by linear peptides.