To clarify the key role of Rad50 in DNA double-strand break repair (DSBR), we biochemically and structurally characterized ATP-bound and ATP-free Rad50 catalytic domain (Rad50cd) from Pyrococcus furiosus. Rad50cd displays ATPase activity plus ATP-controlled dimerization and DNA binding activities. Rad50cd crystal structures identify probable protein and DNA interfaces and reveal an ABC-ATPase fold, linking Rad50 molecular mechanisms to ABC transporters, including P glycoprotein and cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator. Binding of ATP gamma-phosphates to conserved signature motifs in two opposing Rad50cd molecules promotes dimerization that likely couples ATP hydrolysis to dimer dissociation and DNA release. These results, validated by mutations, suggest unified molecular mechanisms for ATP-driven cooperativity and allosteric control of ABC-ATPases in DSBR, membrane transport, and chromosome condensation by SMC proteins.