The current view of canonical Wnt signalling is that following Wnt binding to its receptors (Frizzled-Lrp5/6), dishevelled (Dvl) becomes hyperphosphorylated, and the signal is transduced to the APC-GSK3beta-axin-beta-catenin multiprotein complex, which subsequently dissociates. As a result beta-catenin is not phosphorylated, escapes proteosomal degradation and activates its target genes after translocation to the nucleus. Here, we analyzed the importance of the Wnt-3a-induced phosphorylation and shift in electrophoretic migration of Dvl (PS-Dvl) for the activation of beta-catenin. Analysis of Wnt-3a time- and dose-responses in a dopaminergic cell line showed that beta-catenin is activated rapidly (within minutes) and at a low dose of Wnt-3a (1 ng/ml). Surprisingly, PS-Dvl appeared only after 30 min and at greater doses (> or =20 ng/ml) of Wnt-3a. Moreover, we found that a casein kinase 1 inhibitor (D4476) or siRNA for casein kinase 1 delta/epsilon (CK1delta/epsilon) blocked the Wnt-3a-induced PS-Dvl. Interestingly, CK1 inhibition or siRNA for CK1delta/epsilon did not ablate the activation of beta-catenin by Wnt-3a, indicating that there is a PS-Dvl-independent path to activate beta-catenin. The increase in beta-catenin activation by Wnt-3a (PS-Dvl-dependent or -independent) were blocked by Dickkopf1 (Dkk1), suggesting that the effect of Wnt-3a is in both cases mediated by Lrp5/6 receptors. Thus, our results show that Wnt-3a rapidly induce a partial activation of beta-catenin in the absence of PS-Dvl at low doses, while at high doses induce a full activation of beta-catenin in a PS-Dvl-dependent manner.