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Live Challenges

Identifying and characterizing insect integrated membrane proteins

Closing Date: August 2nd 2024

Matthew Bramlett Portrait

“Identifying novel and efficacious insect control traits is a key challenge for the entire agricultural industry. We are looking for faster and more efficient methods to allow us to characterize and differentiate binding sites of our candidate proteins.”

Matthew Bramlett, Principle Scientist – Insect and Herbicide Trait Discovery


Syngenta is seeking technologies or services that can identify and characterize surface and/or integrated membrane proteins in insect midgut membranes that specifically interact with insecticidal proteins in order to screen for new leads and assess their mode of action.

Ideally the solution will allow this process to be completed quickly and at a high throughput. Novel methods of quantitatively assessing specific interaction between insecticidal protein and midgut membrane are of interest.

The specific binding of insecticidal proteins to receptors located in the brush border of insect midgut epithelial cells is known to be the key step that leads to insecticidal activity. Insecticidal proteins can also bind to the brush border membrane in non-specific and non-productive ways. However, specific binding to the brush border membrane is an essential step. Therefore, distinguishing specific vs non-specific binding is critical.

Possible solution areas include, but are not limited to, membrane protein purification with or without membrane lipids, solubilized membrane protein preparations, high-throughput technologies to quantify binding of labelled or non-labelled proteins to membranes and cells, and the characterization of protein binding via lipids, sugars, and protein receptors.

If you're working on solutions and approaches across industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotech, medical sciences, chemicals/reagents, in addition to solutions currently used in agricultural applications, then you're likely to be a good fit for this challenge.

We've a wide range of potential collaboration types, including with academic research groups, start-ups, and small to medium-sized companies, as well as organizations that perform these services.

What we're looking for

  • High confidence in identifying specific protein:receptor interactions (reduce false positives)
  • High sensitivity to characterize protein:receptor affinity
  • High throughput binding evaluations
  • Ideally have experience with proteins binding to membrane receptors.
  • Experience working with insect sourced membranes

What we can offer you


Access to expertise including our 6,000+ forward thinking scientists

Realize real world potential from your research

Through our global reach and market knowledge we can help deliver impact from your research or technology

Funding and backing

We are able to fund selected projects to drive toward commercialization through our global footprint. We'll discuss with you how best we can take forward your technology or research together

New avenues and opportunities

Shared passion to tackle agriculture’s most complex challenges, increase innovation, and advance more sustainable agriculture

Work with us to help with our challenge

Our people are specialists: they are innovators, scientists, engineers, technologists, regulatory experts and data scientists in multiple fields.