Despite advances in the identification of lymphoid-restricted progenitor cells, the transcription factors essential for their generation remain to be identified. Here we describe an unexpected function for the myeloid oncogene product Mef2c in lymphoid development. Mef2c deficiency was associated with profound defects in the production of B cells, T cells, natural killer cells and common lymphoid progenitor cells and an enhanced myeloid output. In multipotent progenitors, Mef2c was required for the proper expression of several key lymphoid regulators and restriction of the myeloid fate. Our studies also show that Mef2c was a critical transcriptional target of the transcription factor PU.1 during lymphopoiesis. Thus, Mef2c is a crucial component of the transcriptional network that regulates cell fate 'choice' in multipotent progenitors.