The repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) is essential to maintaining the integrity of the genome, and organisms have evolved a conserved mechanism to facilitate their repair. In eukaryotes, archaea, and some bacteriophage, a complex made up of Mre11 and Rad50 (MR complex), which are a nuclease and ATPase, respectively, is involved in the initial processing of DSBs. Rad50 is a member of the ATP Binding Cassette (ABC) protein superfamily, the members of which contain an important Signature motif that acts in trans to complete the dimeric ATP binding site. To explore the functional relevance of this motif, four of its five residues were mutated in bacteriophage T4 Rad50, and their respective ATPase and nuclease activities were evaluated. The mutations reveal the functional roles of the Signature motif in ATP binding, hydrolysis, and cooperativity. In several mutants, the degree of DNA activation of ATP hydrolysis activity is reduced, indicating that the Signature motif is involved in allosteric signal transmission between the DNA and ATP binding sites of the MR complex. ATP hydrolysis is not required for nuclease activity when the probe is near the beginning of the DNA substrate; however, when an internal probe is used, decreases in ATPase activity have substantial effects on nuclease activity, suggesting that ATP hydrolysis is involved in translocation of the complex. Unexpectedly, the ATP hydrolysis and nuclease activities are not directly correlated with each other, and each mutation appears to differentially affect the exonuclease activity of Mre11.