Using a polymerization inhibition assay, we have purified a small, heat stable protein that physically interacts with tubulin dimers and increases the catastrophe rate of microtubules. Sequence analysis identified this protein as oncoprotein 18 (Op18)/stathmin, a conserved phosphoprotein that is highly expressed in leukemia cells. Immunodepletion experiments in Xenopus egg extracts showed that Op18/stathmin is involved in physiological regulation of mitotic microtubule dynamics. Op18/stathmin is a microtubule regulator that preferentially interacts with unpolymerized subunits. It is a candidate for increasing the microtubule catastrophe rate in mitosis and might also regulate microtubule dynamics in response to external signals.