We isolated and characterised a cDNA encoding the lysosomal protective protein (serine protease) cathepsin A (CTSA) from rock bream (Oplegnathus fasciatus). The full-length rock bream CTSA (RbCTSA) cDNA (1814 bp) contains an open reading frame of 1419 bp that encodes 472 amino acids. Alignment of multiple CTSA protein sequences revealed that the active site serine and histidine residues were well-conserved among the other CTSA sequences. RbCTSA is highly expressed in the peripheral blood leukocytes, kidney, spleen, liver, intestine, gill, heart, brain, stomach, and eye. RbCTSA expression was also examined in several tissues, including whole kidneys and spleens, under bacterial and viral challenge. In general, all of the examined tissues that were infected with Edwardsiella tarda, Streptococcus iniae, or red sea bream iridovirus (RSIV) exhibited significant upregulation of RbCTSA expression compared to the controls. Our results reveal that RbCTSA may be involved in the immune responses of rock bream.