A variety of chromatin remodeling complexes are thought to assist sequence-specific transcription factors. The complexes described to date are expressed ubiquitously, suggesting that they have general transcriptional functions. We show that vertebrate neurons have a specialized chromatin remodeling complex, bBAF, specifically containing the actin-related protein, BAF53b, which is first expressed in postmitotic neurons at about murine embryonic day 12.5 (E12.5). BAF53b is combinatorially assembled into polymorphic complexes with ubiquitous subunits including the two ATPases BRG1 and BRM. We speculate that bBAF complexes create neuronal-specific patterns of chromatin accessibility, thereby imparting new regulatory characteristics to ubiquitous sequence-specific transcription factors in neurons.
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