Genetic analysis has implicated SPT6, an essential gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, in the control of chromatin structure. Mutations in SPT6 and particular mutations in histone genes are able to overcome transcriptional defects in strains lacking the Snf/Swi protein complex. Here it is shown that an spt6 mutation causes changes in chromatin structure in vivo. In addition, both in vivo and in vitro experiments provide evidence that Spt6p interacts directly with histones and primarily with histone H3. Consistent with these findings, Spt6p is capable of nucleosome assembly in vitro.