BRAF35, a structural DNA-binding protein, initially was identified as a component of a large BRCA2-containing complex. Biochemical analysis revealed the presence of a smaller core-BRAF35 complex devoid of BRCA2. Here we report the isolation of a six-subunit core-BRAF35 complex with the capacity to deacetylate histones, termed the BRAF-histone deacetylase complex (BHC), from human cells. BHC contains polypeptides reminiscent of the chromatin-remodeling complexes SWI/SNF and NuRD (nucleosome remodeling and deacetylating). Similar to NuRD, BHC contains an Mi2-like subunit, BHC80, and a PHD zinc-finger subunit as well as histone deacetylases 1/2 and an MTA-like subunit, the transcriptional corepressor CoREST. We show that BHC mediates repression of neuron-specific genes through the cis-regulatory element known as the repressor element 1 or neural restrictive silencer (RE1/NRS). Chromatin-immunoprecipitation experiments demonstrate the recruitment of BHC by the neuronal repressor REST. Expression of BRAF35 containing a single point mutation in the HMG domain of the protein abrogated REST-mediated transcriptional repression. These results demonstrate a role for core-BRAF35-containing complex in the regulation of neuron-specific genes through modulation of the chromatin structure.