We have systematically analysed the ultrastructure of the early secretory pathway in the Trichoderma reesei hyphae in the wild-type QM6a, cellulase-overexpressing Rut-C30 strain and a Rut-C30 transformant BV47 overexpressing a recombinant BiP1-VenusYFP fusion protein with an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) retention signal. The hyphae were studied after 24 h of growth using transmission electron microscopy, confocal microscopy and quantitative stereological techniques. All three strains exhibited different spatial organisation of the ER at 24 h in both a cellulase-inducing medium and a minimal medium containing glycerol as a carbon source (non-cellulase-inducing medium). The wild-type displayed a number of ER subdomains including parallel tubular/cisternal ER, ER whorls, ER-isolation membrane complexes with abundant autophagy vacuoles and dense bodies. Rut-C30 and its transformant BV47 overexpressing the BiP1-VenusYFP fusion protein also contained parallel tubular/cisternal ER, but no ER whorls; also, there were very few autophagy vacuoles and an increasing amount of punctate bodies where particularly the recombinant BiP1-VenusYFP fusion protein was localised. The early presence of distinct strain-specific features such as the dominance of ER whorls in the wild type and tub/cis ER in Rut-C30 suggests that these are inherent traits and not solely a result of cellular response mechanisms by the high secreting mutant to protein overload.