DNA methylation and chromatin modification are two global mechanisms that regulate gene expression. Recent studies provide insight into the mechanism of transcriptional silencing by a methyl-CpG binding protein, MeCP2. MeCP2 is shown to interact with the Sin3/histone deacetylase co-repressor complex. Thus, this interaction can provide a mechanistic explanation for the long-known relationship between DNA methylation and chromatin structure. Moreover, several studies have shown that inhibition of histone deacetylases by specific inhibitors can reactivate endogenous genes or reporter constructs previously silenced by DNA methylation. Taken together, the data strongly suggest that DNA methylation can pattern chromatin modification.