Members of the AAA-ATPase (ATPases associated with diverse cellular activities) family use the energy from ATP hydrolysis to disrupt protein complexes involved in many cellular processes. Here, we report that FIGL-1 (Fidgetin-like 1), the single Caenorhabditis elegans homolog of mammalian fidgetin and fidgetin-like 1 AAA-ATPases, controls progression through mitosis in the germ line and the early embryo. Loss of figl-1 function leads to the accumulation of mitotic nuclei in the proliferative zone of the germ line, resulting in sterility owing to depletion of germ cells. Like the AAA-ATPase MEI-1 (also known as katanin), FIGL-1 interacts with microtubules and with MEL-26, a specificity factor of CUL-3-based E3 ligases involved in targeting proteins for ubiquitin-dependent degradation by the 26S proteasome. In the germ line, FIGL-1 is enriched in nuclei of mitotic cells, but it disappears at the transition into meiosis. Conversely, MEL-26 expression is low in nuclei of the mitotic zone and induced during meiosis. FIGL-1 accumulates in the germ line and spreads to the meiotic zone after inactivation of mel-26 or cul-3 in vivo. We conclude that degradation of FIGL-1 by the CUL-3MEL-26 E3 ligase spatially restricts FIGL-1 function to mitotic cells, where it is required for correct progression through mitosis.