Native E7 production in wt L. lactis depends on growth phase. E7 production and secretion were analyzed by Western blot from cultures induced at different times so that, 1 hour after nisin induction, the samples are harvested at exponential (OD600 = 0.5–0.6, upper panels) or stationary phase (OD600 = 1.5, lower panels). wt/pCYT-E7, NZ(pCYT-E7) strain (encoding native E7, cytoplasmic form). wt/pSEC-E7 NZ(pSEC-E7) strain (encoding the precursor preE7). Positions of E7 mature and precursor forms are given by arrows. C, cell lysates; S, supernatant fraction. ClpP is not involved in the intracellular degradation of E7 in L. lactis. Analysis by western blot shows that a strain of L. lactis deficient in the intracellular protease ClpP cannot rescue cytoplasmic E7 production. Induced cultures samples of wt L. lactis or L. lactis clpP mutant strain containing pCYT-E7 (clpP/pCYT-E7) or pSEC-E7 (clpP/pSEC-E7) taken at exponential- (upper panel) or stationary- (lower panel) phase.