Cell differentiation is mediated by lineage-determining transcription factors. We show that chromodomain helicase DNA-binding domain 2 (Chd2), a SNF2 chromatin remodelling enzyme family member, interacts with MyoD and myogenic gene regulatory sequences to specifically mark these loci via deposition of the histone variant H3.3 prior to cell differentiation. Directed and genome-wide analysis of endogenous H3.3 incorporation demonstrates that knockdown of Chd2 prevents H3.3 deposition at differentiation-dependent, but not housekeeping, genes and inhibits myogenic gene activation. The data indicate that MyoD determines cell fate and facilitates differentiation-dependent gene expression through Chd2-dependent deposition of H3.3 at myogenic loci prior to differentiation.
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