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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010, Article ID 583691, 16 pages
Review Article

Organogenic Nodule Formation in Hop: A Tool to Study Morphogenesis in Plants with Biotechnological and Medicinal Applications

1Plant Systems Biology Lab, ICAT, Center for Biodiversity and Functional Integrative Genomics, Science Faculty of Lisbon University, Campo Grande, 1749-016 Lisboa, Portugal
2Institute of Biology II/Botany, Faculty of Biology, Albert-Ludwigs-University of Freiburg, Schänzlestraße 1, 79104 Freiburg, Germany

Received 29 December 2009; Revised 14 June 2010; Accepted 28 June 2010

Academic Editor: Prem L. Bhalla

Copyright © 2010 Ana M. Fortes et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The usage of Humulus lupulus for brewing increased the demand for high-quality plant material. Simultaneously, hop has been used in traditional medicine and recently recognized with anticancer and anti-infective properties. Tissue culture techniques have been reported for a wide range of species, and open the prospect for propagation of disease-free, genetically uniform and massive amounts of plants in vitro. Moreover, the development of large-scale culture methods using bioreactors enables the industrial production of secondary metabolites. Reliable and efficient tissue culture protocol for shoot regeneration through organogenic nodule formation was established for hop. The present review describes the histological, and biochemical changes occurring during this morphogenic process, together with an analysis of transcriptional and metabolic profiles. We also discuss the existence of common molecular factors among three different morphogenic processes: organogenic nodules and somatic embryogenesis, which strictly speaking depend exclusively on intrinsic developmental reprogramming, and legume nitrogen-fixing root nodules, which arises in response to symbiosis. The review of the key factors that participate in hop nodule organogenesis and the comparison with other morphogenic processes may have merit as a study presenting recent advances in complex molecular networks occurring during morphogenesis and together, these provide a rich framework for biotechnology applications.