The expression of three microRNAs, miR-1, miR-206 and miR-133 is restricted to skeletal myoblasts and cardiac tissue during embryo development and muscle cell differentiation, which Suggests a regulation by muscle regulatory factors (MRFs). Here we show that inhibition of C2C12 muscle cell differentiation by FGFs, which interferes with the activity of MRFs, suppressed the expression of miR-1, miR-206 and miR-133. To further investigate the role of myogenic regulators (MRFs), Myf5, MyoD, Myogenin and MRF4 in the regulation of muscle specific microRNAs we performed gain and loss-of-function experiments in vivo, in chicken and mouse embryos. We found that directed expression of MRFs in the neural tube of chicken embryos induced ectopic expression of miR-1 and miR-206. Conversely, the lack of Myf5 but not of MyoD resulted in a loss of miR-1 and miR-206 expression. Taken together our results demonstrate differential requirements of distinct MRFs for the induction of microRNA gene expression during skeletal myogenesis. (C) 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.