Presentation of subunit vaccines in a highly ordered aggregate form can result in enhanced immune responses. Coat protein (CP) monomers of a potyvirus (Johnsongrass mosaic virus) when produced in heterologous host expression systems (Escherichia coli, yeast and insect cells) self-polymerized to produce potyvirus-like particles (PVLPs). The N- and C-terminal regions of potyvirus CP are surface-exposed and are not required for assembly. Hybrid CP monomers containing short peptides fused to their N- and/or C-termini, or large target antigens fused to the N-terminus or replacing most of the N- or C-terminal exposed regions retained the ability to assemble into hybrid PVLPs. Such chimeric PVLPs were highly immunogenic in mice and rabbits even in the absence of any adjuvant. Potyvirus CP is highly versatile in accommodating peptides or large antigens and is able to present antigens exposed on the surface of virus-like particles. This, combined with the efficiency of high level bacterial and insect cell expression systems, makes PVLPs an attractive non-pathogenic and non-replicative vaccine carrier.