With hundreds of chromatin regulators identified in mammals, an emerging issue is how they modulate biological and pathological processes. BRPF1 (bromodomain- and PHD finger-containing protein 1) is a unique chromatin regulator possessing two PHD fingers, one bromodomain and a PWWP domain for recognizing multiple histone modifications. In addition, it binds to the acetyltransferases MOZ, MORF and HBO1 (also known as KAT6A, KAT6B and KAT7, respectively) to promote complex formation, restrict substrate specificity and enhance enzymatic activity. We have recently shown that ablation of the mouse Brpf1 gene causes embryonic lethality at E9.5. Here we present systematic analyses of the mutant animals and demonstrate that the ablation leads to vascular defects in the placenta, yolk sac and embryo proper, as well as abnormal neural tube closure. At the cellular level, Brpf1 loss inhibits proliferation of embryonic fibroblasts and primitive hematopoietic progenitors. Molecularly, the loss reduces transcription of a ribosomal protein L10 (Rpl10)-like gene and the cell cycle inhibitor p27, and increases expression of the cell-cycle inhibitor p16 and a novel protein homologous to Scp3, a synaptonemal complex protein critical for chromosome association and embryo survival. These results uncover a crucial role of Brpf1 in controlling mouse embryo development and regulating cellular and gene expression programs.