The substrate- or cofactor-based fluorine NMR screening, also known as n-FABS (n fluorine atoms for biochemical screening), represents a powerful method for performing a direct functional assay in the search of inhibitors or enhancers of an enzymatic reaction. Although it suffers from the intrinsic low sensitivity compared to other biophysical techniques usually applied in functional assays, it has some distinctive features that makes it appealing for tackling complex chemical and biological systems. Its strengths are represented by the easy set-up, robustness, flexibility, lack of signal interference and rich information content resulting in the identification of bona fide inhibitors and reliable determination of their inhibitory strength. The versatility of the n-FABS allows its application to either purified enzymes, cell lysates or intact living cells. The principles, along with theoretical, technical and practical aspects, of the methodology are discussed. Furthermore, several applications of the technique to pharmaceutical projects are presented
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