The transcription factor Nkx2.5 and the intermediate filament protein desmin are simultaneously expressed in cardiac progenitor cells during commitment of primitive mesoderm to the cardiomyogenic lineage. Up-regulation of Nkx2.5 expression by desmin suggests that desmin may contribute to cardiogenic commitment and myocardial differentiation by directly influencing the transcription of the nkx2.5 gene in cardiac progenitor cells. Here, we demonstrate that desmin activates transcription of nkx2.5 reporter genes, rescues nkx2.5 haploinsufficiency in cardiac progenitor cells, and is responsible for the proper expression of Nkx2.5 in adult cardiac side population stem cells. These effects are consistent with the temporary presence of desmin in the nuclei of differentiating cardiac progenitor cells and its physical interaction with transcription factor complexes bound to the enhancer and promoter elements of the nkx2.5 gene. These findings introduce desmin as a newly discovered and unexpected player in the regulatory network guiding cardiomyogenesis in cardiac stem cells.