The packaging of the eukaryotic genome into chromatin is likely to be mediated by chromatin assembly factors, including histone chaperones. We investigated the function of the histone H3/H4 chaperones anti-silencing function 1 (Asf1p) and chromatin assembly factor 1 (CAF-1) in vivo. Analysis of chromatin structure by accessibility to micrococcal nuclease and DNase I digestion demonstrated that the chromatin from CAF-1 mutant yeast has increased accessibility to these enzymes. In agreement, the supercoiling of the endogenous 2mu plasmid is reduced in yeast lacking CAF-1. These results indicate that CAF-1 mutant yeast globally under-assemble their genome into chromatin, consistent with a role for CAF-1 in chromatin assembly in vivo. By contrast, asf1 mutants globally over-assemble their genome into chromatin, as suggested by decreased accessibility of their chromatin to micrococcal nuclease and DNase I digestion and increased supercoiling of the endogenous 2mu plasmid. Deletion of ASF1 causes a striking loss of acetylation on histone H3 lysine 9, but this is not responsible for the altered chromatin structure in asf1 mutants. These data indicate that Asf1p may have a global role in chromatin disassembly and an unexpected role in histone acetylation in vivo.