The regulation of microtubule dynamics in vitro by microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) was examined, using purified porcine MAP1B and MAP2. MAP1B has a significantly smaller effect on the observed critical concentration for microtubule assembly than MAP2. Assembly is faster in the presence of either MAP, and the resulting microtubules are shorter, indicating that nucleation is substantially promoted by the MAPs. Both MAPs stabilise the microtubule lattice as observed from podophyllotoxin-induced disassembly, but the effect of MAP1B is weaker than the effect of MAP2. At steady-state of assembly MAP1B still allows microtubule dynamic instability to occur as inferred from microtubule length changes. The comparison of the effects of MAP1B and MAP2 indicates that the reduction of the observed critical concentration is attributable to the reduction of the depolymerisation rate and correlates with the extent of suppression of dynamic instability. Numerical simulations illustrate that microtubule dynamics are strongly influenced by relatively small changes in the strength of a limited subset of subunit interactions in the lattice. The observed characteristic differences between the MAPs may be important for the regulation of distinct populations of microtubules which coexist in the same cell, where differences in stability and dynamics may be essential for their different spatial roles as, for example, in developing neurons.