APOBEC3G (A3G) is a cytidine deaminase that catalyzes deamination of deoxycytidine (dC) on single-stranded DNA (ssDNA). The oligomeric state of A3G required to support deaminase activity remains unknown. We show under defined in vitro conditions that full-length and native A3G formed complexes with ssDNA in an A3G concentration-dependent but temperature-independent manner. Complexes assembled and maintained at 4 °C did not have significant deaminase activity, but their enzymatic function could be restored by subsequent incubation at 37 °C. This approach enabled complexes of a defined size range to be isolated and subsequently evaluated for their contribution to enzymatic activity. The composition of A3G bound to ssDNA was determined by protein-protein chemical cross-linking. A3G-ssDNA complexes of 16 S were necessary for deaminase activity and consisted of cross-linked A3G homotetramers and homodimers. At lower concentrations, A3G only formed 5.8 S homodimers on ssDNA with low deaminase activity. Monomeric A3G was not identified in 5.8 S or 16 S complexes. We propose that deaminase-dependent antiviral activity of A3G in vivo may require a critical concentration of A3G in viral particles that will promote oligomerization on ssDNA during reverse transcription.