The molecular mechanisms underlying erythroid-specific gene regulation remain incompletely understood. Closely spaced binding sites for GATA, NF-E2/maf, and CACCC interacting transcription factors play functionally important roles in globin and other erythroidspecific gene expression.We and others recently identified the CACCC-binding transcription factor ZBP-89 as a novel GATA-1 and NF-E2/mafK interacting partner. Here, we examined the role of ZBP-89 in human globin gene regulation and erythroid maturation using a primary CD34 + cell ex vivo differentiation system. We show that ZBP-89 protein levels rise dramatically during human erythroid differentiation and that ZBP-89 occupies key cis-regulatory elements within the globin and other erythroid gene loci. ZBP-89 binding correlates strongly with RNA Pol II occupancy, active histone marks, and high-level gene expression. ZBP-89 physically associates with the histone acetyltransferases p300 and Gcn5/Trrap, and occupies common sites with Gcn5 within the human globin loci. Lentiviral short hairpin RNAs knockdown of ZBP-89 results in reduced Gcn5 occupancy, decreased acetylated histone 3 levels, lower globin and erythroid-specific gene expression, and impaired erythroid maturation. Addition of the histone deacetylase inhibitor valproic acid partially reverses the reduced globin gene expression. These findings reveal an activating role for ZBP-89 in human globin gene regulation and erythroid differentiation. © 2011 by The American Society of Hematology.