T4 DNA polymerase, the 44/62 and 45 polymerase accessory proteins, and 32 single-stranded DNA-binding protein catalyze ATP-dependent DNA synthesis. Using DNA primers with cross-linkable residues at specific positions, we obtained structural data that reveal how these proteins assemble on the primer-template. With the nonhydrolyzable ATP analog ATP gamma S, assembly of the 44/62 and 45 proteins on the primer requires 32 protein but not polymerase. ATP hydrolysis changes the position and intensity of cross-linking to each of the accessory proteins and allows cross-linking of polymerase. Our data indicate that the initial binding of the three accessory proteins and ATP to a 32 protein-covered primer-template is followed by ATP hydrolysis, binding of polymerase, and movement of the accessory proteins to yield a complex capable of processive DNA synthesis.