Certain types of human papillomaviruses (HPV) are causatively associated with cervical carcinoma, the second most common cancer in women worldwide. Due to limitations in the availability of currently used virus-like particle (VLP)-based vaccines against HPV to women of developing countries, where most cases of cervical cancer occur, the development of a cost-effective second-generation vaccine is a necessity. Capsomeres have recently been demonstrated to be highly immunogenic and to have a number of advantages as a potential cost-effective alternative to VLP-based HPV vaccines. We have expressed a mutated HPV-16 L1 (L1_2xCysM) gene that retained the ability to assemble L1 protein to capsomeres in tobacco chloroplasts. The recombinant protein yielded up to 1.5% of total soluble protein. The assembly of capsomeres was examined and verified by cesium chloride density gradient centrifugation and sucrose sedimentation analysis. An antigen capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay confirmed the formation of capsomeres by using a conformation-specific monoclonal antibody which recognized the conformational epitopes. Transplastomic tobacco plants exhibited normal growth and morphology, but all such lines showed male sterility in the T₀, T₁ and T₂ generations. Taken together, these results indicate the possibility of producing a low-cost capsomere-based vaccine by plastids.