Eukaryotes use adenosine triphosphate (ATP)–dependent chromatin-remodeling complexes to regulate gene expression. Here, we show that inositol polyphosphates can modulate the activities of several chromatin-remodeling complexes in vitro. Inositol hexakisphosphate (IP6) inhibits nucleosome mobilization by NURF, ISW2, and INO80 complexes. In contrast, nucleosome mobilization by the yeast SWI/SNF complex is stimulated by inositol tetrakisphosphate (IP4) and inositol pentakisphosphate (IP5). We demonstrate that mutations in genes encoding inositol polyphosphate kinases that produce IP4, IP5, and IP6 impair transcription in vivo. These results provide a link between inositol polyphosphates, chromatin remodeling, and gene expression. Small lipid molecules reorganize the proteins that surround genes, thus allowing regulation. Small lipid molecules reorganize the proteins that surround genes, thus allowing regulation.