One of the main determinants of chromatin structure is histone acetylation1. Local chromosomal acetylation can be regulated dynamically, both through the involvement of transactivating factors with intrinsic histone acetylase activity, and through the recruitment of deacetylase complexes that repress gene expression2. Histone acetylation status is transiently modified from one state to another in response to physiological changes operating in the cell. It is not yet known, however, how the basic histone acetylation profiles on tissue-specific and housekeeping gene sequences are established during normal development. Here we show that DNA methylation takes part in this process by inducing decreased levels of chromatin acetylation.