Forming and removing epigenetic histone marks at gene loci are central processes in differentiation. Here, we explored mechanisms establishing long-range H4 acetylation marks at the Ifng locus during Th1 lineage commitment. In Th0 cells, histone deacetylase (HDAC)-Sin3A complexes recruited to the Ifng locus actively prevented accumulation of H4 acetylation marks. Th1 differentiation caused loss of HDAC-Sin3A complexes by T-bet-dependent mechanisms and accumulation of H4 acetylation marks. HDAC-Sin3A complexes were absent from the locus in NOD Th0 cells, obviating the need for Th1 differentiation signals to establish histone marks and Th1 differentiation. Thus, Ifng transcription is actively prevented in Th0 cells via epigenetic mechanisms and epigenetic defects allow unregulated Ifng transcription that may contribute to autoimmunity.