The polycyclic dinitriles are a potent class of insecticides which are non-competitive GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) antagonists acting at the convulsant site. Comparison with other classes of GABA convulsant site ligands using molecular modelling has shown significant structural similarities. We have developed a pharmacophore model which unifies this class and some previous classes of GABA convulsants. Key pharmacophore elements are a polarizable functionality separated by a fixed distance from two H-bond accepting elements. This model is based on information from X-ray crystal structures and Sybyl using the Tripos force field. Using this pharmacophore model, numerous structural modifications were explored to enhance understanding of structure-activity relationships at the GABA receptor convulsant site of insects and mammals. A radiolabelled bicyclic dinitrile, [3H]BIDN [3H]3,3-bis-trifluoromethyl-bicyclo[2,2,1]heptane-2,2-dicarbonitrile+ ++), was prepared from this area of chemistry and was used as a probe for the interaction of polycyclic dinitriles at the target site.