BackgroundMaize bsd2 (bundle sheath defective2) is a classical C4 mutant with defective C4 photosynthesis, accompanied with reduced accumulation of Rubisco (ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase oxygenase) and aberrant mature chloroplast morphology in the bundle sheath (BS) cells. However, as a hypothetical chloroplast chaperone, the effects of BSD2 on C4 chloroplast development have not been fully examined yet, which precludes a full appreciation of BSD2 function in C4 photosynthesis. The aims of our study are to find out the role ofBSD2 in regulating chloroplasts development in maize leaves, and to add new insights into our understanding of C4 biology.ResultsWe found that at the chloroplast maturation stage, the thylakoid membranes of chloroplasts in the BS and mesophyll (M) cells became significantly looser, and the granaof chloroplasts in the M cells became thinner stacking in the bsd2 mutant when compared with the wildtype plant. Moreover, at the early chloroplast development stage, the number of dividing chloroplasts and the chloroplast division rate are both reduced in the bsd2 mutant, compared with wild type. Quantitative reverse transcriptase-PCR analysis revealed that the expression of both thylakoid formation-related genesand chloroplast division-related genes is significantly reduced in the bsd2 mutants. Further, we showed that BSD2 interacts physically with the large submit of Rubisco (LS) in Bimolecular Fluorescence Complementation assay.ConclusionsOur combined results suggest that BSD2 plays an essential role in regulating the division and differentiation of the dimorphic BS and M chloroplasts, and that it acts at a post-transcriptional level to regulate LS stability or assembly of Rubisco.