Glucose regulated protein (GRP) located in endoplasmic reticulum (ER) was a member of heat shock protein (Hsp) family. The protective mechanism adapted to ER stimuli was closely related to GRP. GRP78, known as BiP, was one of central regulator responded to stress in ER. Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) GRP78 (CiGRP78) was up-regulated in almost tissues, especially in liver, under heat shock (34 °C), cold stress (4 °C) or lead nitrate (0.25 mmol/L) stress. In order to understand the function of CiGRP78 in cellular protection, CiGRP78 ORF cDNA was inserted into the plasmid of pET-32a(+) or pEGFP-C1 respectively, then the recombinant plasmids were transformed or transfected into Escherichia coli cells, mouse myeloma cells (SP2/0) or grass carp kidney cells (CIK). In the cells, CiGRP78 was over-expressed following thermal, cold or Pb(2+) stress. Results showed that CiGRP78 not only contributed to protecting prokaryotic cells against thermal or cold extremes, but also played the same role in SP2/0 and CIK cells. After treatment with heat stress at 42 °C for 1 h, although the viability of the cells declined a lot, CIK cells with pEGFP-C1/CiGRP78 exhibited a higher survival rate (28%) than wild-type cells (7%) or cells with only pEGFP-C1 (5.1%). When the time lag extended to 2.5 h, the survival rates were 19%, 5.7%, 4.8% respectively. In addition, CiGRP78 would also provide a transient cytoplasm protection against Pb(2+) stress in a dose- and time-dependent manner. After treatment with lead nitrate at concentration of 10 μmol/L for 12 h, 24 h or 36 h, the survival rates of cells with pEGFP-C1 or wild-type cells were 46.7% or 46.7% (12 h), 25% or 22% (24 h), 10% or 11% (36 h) respectively. When the cells were treated with lead nitrate at the concentration of 25 μmol/L, the survival rates of cells with pEGFP-C1 or wild-type cells were 45.5% or 30% (12 h), 16.7% or 25% (24 h), 6.5% or 8% (36 h), respectively. CiGRP78 provided a distinct protection in CIK cells at the low concentration for 24 h. The survival rates of CIK cells with pEGFP-C1/CiGRP78 treated with lead nitrate at concentration of 10 μmol/L or 25 μmol/L were 65.9% or 58.8% respectively. When the cells were treated with lead nitrate at concentration of 50 μmol/L for 24 h, the survival rate of the CIK cells was only about 30%. If the process-time was extended to 36 h, CiGRP78 could not provide any cytoplasm protection for CIK cells.