During morphogenesis, molecular mechanisms that orchestrate biomechanical dynamics across cells remain unclear. Here, we show a role of guidance receptor Plexin-B2 in organizing actomyosin network and adhesion complexes during multicellular development of human embryonic stem cells and neuroprogenitor cells. Plexin-B2 manipulations affect actomyosin contractility, leading to changes in cell stiffness and cytoskeletal tension, as well as cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion. We have delineated the functional domains of Plexin-B2, RAP1/2 effectors, and the signaling association with ERK1/2, calcium activation, and YAP mechanosensor, thus providing a mechanistic link between Plexin-B2-mediated cytoskeletal tension and stem cell physiology. Plexin-B2-deficient stem cells exhibit premature lineage commitment, and a balanced level of Plexin-B2 activity is critical for maintaining cytoarchitectural integrity of the developing neuroepithelium, as modeled in cerebral organoids. Our studies thus establish a significant function of Plexin-B2 in orchestrating cytoskeletal tension and cell-cell/cell-matrix adhesion, therefore solidifying the importance of collective cell mechanics in governing stem cell physiology and tissue morphogenesis.
© 2021. The Author(s).