Proteinase A (PrA), encoded by PEP4 gene, is a key enzyme in the vacuoles of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We characterized the effects of PrA on cell growth and glucose metabolism in the industrial S. cerevisiae WZ65. It was observed that the lag phase of cell growth of partial PEP4 gene deletion mutant (36 h) and PrA-negative mutant (48 h) was significantly extended, compared with the wild type strain (24 h) (P<0.05), but PrA had no effect on glucose metabolism either under shaking or steady state cultivations. The logistic model was chosen to evaluate the effect of PrA on S. cerevisiae cell growth, and PrA was found to promote cell growth against insufficient oxygen condition in steady state cultivation, but had no effect in shaking cultivation. The effects of glucose starvation on cell growth of partial PEP4 gene deletion strain and PrA-negative mutant were also evaluated. The results show that PrA partial deficiency increased the adaption of S. cerevisiae to unfavorable nutrient environment, but had no effect on glucose metabolism under the stress of low glucose. During heat shock test, at 60 degrees C the reduced cell viability rate (RCVR) was 10% for the wild type S. cerevisiae and 90% for both mutant strains (P<0.01), suggesting that PrA was a negative factor for S. cerevisiae cells to survive under heat shock. As temperatures rose from 60 degrees C to 70 degrees C, the wild type S. cerevisiae had significantly lower relative glucose consumption rate (RGCR) (61.0% and 80.0%) than the partial mutant (78.0% and 98.5%) and the complete mutant (80.0% and 98.0%) (P<0.05), suggesting that, in coping with heat shock, cells of the PrA mutants increased their glucose consumption to survive. The present study may provide meaningful information for brewing industry; however, the role of PrA in industrial S. cerevisiae physiology is complex and needs to be further investigated.