Peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-γ co-activator-1a (PGC-1α) is a transcriptional co-activator that coordinately regulates the expression of distinct sets of metabolism-related genes in different tissues. Here we show that PGC-1α expression is reduced in skeletal muscles from mice lacking the sirtuin family deacetylase SIRT1. Conversely, SIRT1 activation or overexpression in differentiated C2C12 myotubes increased PGC-1α mRNA expression. The transcription-promoting effects of SIRT1 occurred through stimulation of PGC-1b promoter activity and were enhanced by co-transfection of myogenic factors, such as myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) and, especially, myogenic determining factor (MyoD). SIRT1 bound to the proximal promoter region of the PGC-1α gene, an interaction potentiated by MEF2C or MyoD, which also interact with this region. In the presence of MyoD, SIRT1 promoted a positive autoregulatory PGC-1α expression loop, such that overexpression of PGC-1α increased PGC-1α promoter activity in the presence of co-expressed MyoD and SIRT1. Chromatin immunoprecipitation showed that SIRT1 interacts with PGC-1α promoter and increases PGC-1b recruitment to its own promoter region. Immunoprecipitation assays further showed that SIRT1- PGC-1α interactions are enhanced by MyoD. Collectively, these data indicate that SIRT1 controls PGC-1α gene expression in skeletal muscle and that MyoD is a key mediator of this action. The involvement of MyoDin SIRT1-dependent PGC-1α expression may help to explain the ability of SIRT1 to drive muscle-specific gene expression and metabolism. Autoregulatory control of PGC-1α gene transcription seems to be a pivotal mechanism for conferring a transcription-activating response to SIRT1 in skeletal muscle.