Eukaryotic cells rapidly reorganize their microtubule cytoskeleton during the cell cycle, differentiation, and cell migration. In this study, we have purified a heterodimeric protein, katanin, that severs and disassembles microtubules to tubulin dimers. The disassembled tubulin can repolymerize, indicating that it is not irreversibly modified or denatured in the reaction. Katanin is a microtubule-stimulated ATPase and requires ATP hydrolysis to sever microtubules. Katanin represents a novel type of enzyme that utilizes energy from nucleotide hydrolysis to break tubulin-tubulin bonds within a microtubule polymer, a process that may aid in disassembling complex microtubule arrays within cells.