Proper placement of the bacterial cell division site requires the site-specific inactivation of other potential division sites. In Escherichia coli, selection of the correct mid-cell site is mediated by the MinC, MinD and MinE proteins. To clarify the functional role of the bacterial cell division inhibitor MinD, which is a membrane-associated ATPase that works as an activator of MinC, we determined the crystal structure of a Pyrococcus furiosus MinD homologue complexed with a substrate analogue, AMPPCP, and with the product ADP at resolutions of 2.7 and 2.0 A, respectively. The structure reveals general similarities to the nitrogenase iron protein, the H-Ras p21 and the RecA-like ATPase domain. Alanine scanning mutational analyses of E.coli MinD were also performed in vivo. The results suggest that the residues around the ATP-binding site are required for the direct interaction with MinC, and that ATP binding and hydrolysis play a role as a molecular switch to control the mechanisms of MinCDE-dependent bacterial cell division.