During the last decade, alphaviruses became widely used for expression of heterologous genetic information and development of recombinant vaccines against a variety of human and animal pathogens. In this study, we compared a number of vectors based on the genome of Sindbis (SINV) and Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEEV) viruses for their ability to express the Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV) envelope glycoprotein Gn and induce a protective immune response against RVFV infection. Our results suggest that (i) application of VEEV-based expression systems appears to be advantageous, when compared to similar systems designed on the basis of the SINV genome. (ii) Alphavirus-specific E3 and E2 proteins and furin-specific cleavage sites can be used for engineering secreted forms of the proteins. (iii) Alphaviruses can be modified for expression of the large fragments of heterologous proteins on the surface of chimeric, infectious viral particles. Thus, alphavirus-based expression systems may have the potential for a broader application beyond their current use as replicons or double-subgenomic vectors. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.