The nuclear Ras-related protein Ran binds guanine nucleotide and is involved in cell cycle regulation. Models of the signal pathway predict Ran to be active as Ran.GTP at the initiation of S phase upon activation by the nucleotide exchange factor RCC1 and to be inactivated for the onset of mitosis by hydrolysis of bound GTP. Here a nuclear homodimeric 65-kDa protein, RanGAP1, is described, which we believe to be the immediate antagonist of RCC1. It was purified from HeLa cell lysates and induces GTPase activity of Ran, but not Ras, by more than 3 orders of magnitude. The Ran mutant Q69L, modeled after RasQ61L, which is unable to hydrolyze bound GTP, is insensitive to RanGAP1.