To begin to understand mechanistic differences in endocytosis in neurons and nonneuronal cells, we have compared the biochemical properties of the ubiquitously expressed dynamin-II isoform with those of neuron-specific dynamin-I. Like dynamin-I, dynamin-II is specifically localized to and highly concentrated in coated pits on the plasma membrane and can assemble in vitro into rings and helical arrays. As expected, the two closely related isoforms share a similar mechanism for GTP hydrolysis: both are stimulated in vitro by self-assembly and by interaction with microtubules or the SH3 domain-containing protein, grb2. Deletion of the C-terminal proline/arginine-rich domain from either isoform abrogates self-assembly and assembly-dependent increases in GTP hydrolysis. However, dynamin-II exhibits a approximately threefold higher rate of intrinsic GTP hydrolysis and higher affinity for GTP than dynamin-I. Strikingly, the stimulated GTPase activity of dynamin-II can be >40-fold higher than dynamin-I, due principally to its greater propensity for self-assembly and the increased resistance of assembled dynamin-II to GTP-triggered disassembly. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that self-assembly is a major regulator of dynamin GTPase activity and that the intrinsic rate of GTP hydrolysis reflects a dynamic, GTP-dependent equilibrium of assembly and disassembly.