Cytoplasmic dynein is a microtubule-based motor protein that is responsible for most intracellular retrograde transports along microtubule filaments. The motor domain of dynein contains six tandemly linked AAA (ATPases associated with diverse cellular activities) modules, with the first four containing predicted nucleotide-binding/hydrolysis sites (P1-P4). To dissect the functions of these multiple nucleotide-binding/hydrolysis sites, we expressed and purified Dictyostelium dynein motor domains in which mutations were introduced to block nucleotide binding at each of the four AAA modules, and then examined their detailed biochemical properties. The P1 mutant was trapped in a strong-binding state even in the presence of ATP and lost its motile activity. The P3 mutant also showed a high affinity for microtubules in the presence of ATP and lost most of the microtubule-activated ATPase activity, but retained microtubule sliding activity, although the sliding velocity of the mutant was more than 20-fold slower than that of the wild type. In contrast, mutation in the P2 or P4 site did not affect the apparent binding affinity of the mutant for microtubules in the presence of ATP, but reduced ATPase and microtubule sliding activities. These results indicate that ATP binding and its hydrolysis only at the P1 site are essential for the motor activities of cytoplasmic dynein, and suggest that the other nucleotide-binding/hydrolysis sites regulate the motor activities. Among them, nucleotide binding at the P3 site is not essential but is critical for microtubule-activated ATPase and motile activities of cytoplasmic dynein.