Dynamin is a 100 kDa GTPase required for receptor-mediated endocytosis, functioning as the key regulator of the late stages of clathrin-coated vesicle budding. It is specifically targeted to clathrin-coated pits where it self-assembles into 'collars' required for detachment of coated vesicles from the plasma membrane. Self-assembly stimulates dynamin GTPase activity. Thus, dynamin-dynamin interactions are critical in regulating its cellular function. We show by crosslinking and analytical ultracentrifugation that dynamin is a tetramer. Using limited proteolysis, we have defined structural domains of dynamin and evaluated the domain interactions and requirements for self-assembly and GTP binding and hydrolysis. We show that dynamin's C-terminal proline- and arginine-rich domain (PRD) and dynamin's pleckstrin homology (PH) domain are, respectively, positive and negative regulators of self-assembly and GTP hydrolysis. Importantly, we have discovered that the alpha-helical domain interposed between the PH domain and the PRD interacts with the N-terminal GTPase domain to stimulate GTP hydrolysis. We term this region the GTPase effector domain (GED) of dynamin.