Most Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells develop in the thymus as a functionally mature T cell subpopulation specialized for immune suppression. Their cell fate appears to be determined before Foxp3 expression; yet molecular events that prime Foxp3- Treg precursor cells are largely obscure. We found that Treg cell-specific super-enhancers (Treg-SEs), which were associated with Foxp3 and other Treg cell signature genes, began to be activated in Treg precursor cells. T cell-specific deficiency of the genome organizer Satb1 impaired Treg-SE activation and the subsequent expression of Treg signature genes, causing severe autoimmunity due to Treg cell deficiency. These results suggest that Satb1-dependent Treg-SE activation is crucial for Treg cell lineage specification in the thymus and that its perturbation is causative of autoimmune and other immunological diseases.