Optineurin (Optn) is an adaptor protein with homology to NF-κB essential modulator (NEMO), the regulatory subunit of the IκB kinase (IKK) complex. Dysregulation of Optn has been linked to neurodegenerative, autoimmune and bone diseases. Optn shares a high degree of homology with NEMO, but is not part of the same high-molecular weight complex containing IKKα and IKKβ. Despite its homology with NEMO and the fact that it has been the subject of extensive study in several cell types, there are no published studies addressing the role of Optn during T cell activation. Here we demonstrate that ectopic expression of Optn down-regulates TCR-induced NF-κB activation and TNF-α production, in a manner dependent on ubiquitin-binding. Conversely, knock-down of Optn enhances NF-κB activation and the production of TNF-α. Consistent with a negative regulatory role for this protein, we observed transient loss of Optn after TCR stimulation in both cell lines and in primary murine T cells. The acute loss of Optn appears to be due to both protein degradation and exocytosis, the latter via activation-induced exosomes. This study therefore provides novel information regarding the role of Optn during TCR activation, suggesting the possible importance of Optn during inflammation and/or autoimmune diseases.