A reconstituted system for examining directed organelle movements along purified microtubules has been developed. Axoplasm from the squid giant axon was separated into soluble supernatant and organelle-enriched fractions. Movement of axoplasmic organelles along MAP-free microtubules occurred consistently only after addition of axoplasmic supernatant and ATP. The velocity of such organelle movement (1.6 micron/sec) was the same as in dissociated axoplasm. The axoplasmic supernatant also supported movement of microtubules along a glass surface and movement of carboxylated latex beads along microtubules at 0.5 micron/sec. The direction of microtubule movement on glass was opposite to that of organelle and bead movement on microtubules. The factors supporting movements of microtubules, beads, and organelles were sensitive to heat, trypsin, AMP-PNP and 100 microM vanadate. All of these movements may be driven by a single, soluble ATPase that binds reversibly to organelles, beads, or glass and generates a translocating force on a microtubule.