Members of the vertebrate Wnt family have been subdivided into two functional classes according to their biological activities. Some Wnts signal through the canonical Wnt-1/wingless pathway by stabilizing cytoplasmic beta-catenin. By contrast other Wnts stimulate intracellular Ca2+ release and activate two kinases, CamKII and PKC, in a G-protein-dependent manner. Moreover, putative Wnt receptors belonging to the Frizzled gene family have been identified that preferentially couple to the two prospective pathways in the absence of ectopic Wnt ligand and that might account for the signaling specificity of the Wnt pathways. As Ca2+ release was the first described feature of the noncanonical pathway, and as Ca2+ probably plays a key role in the activation of CamKII and PKC, we have named this Wnt pathway the Wnt/Ca2+ pathway.