The abnormal spine morphology found in fragile X syndrome (FXS) is suggestive of an error in the signaling cascades that organize the actin cytoskeleton. We report here that physiological activation of the small GTPase Rac1 and its effector p-21 activated kinase (PAK), two enzymes critically involved in actin management and functional synaptic plasticity, is impaired at hippocampal synapses in the Fmr1-knock-out (KO) mouse model of FXS. Theta burst afferent stimulation (TBS) caused a marked increase in the number of synapses associated with phosphorylated PAK in adult hippocampal slices from wild-type, but not Fmr1-KO, mice. Stimulation-induced activation of synaptic Rac1 was also absent in the mutants. The polymerization of spine actin that occurs immediately after theta stimulation appeared normal in mutant slices but the newly formed polymers did not properly stabilize, as evidenced by a prolonged vulnerability to a toxin (latrunculin) that disrupts dynamic actin filaments. Latrunculin also reversed long-term potentiation when applied at 10 min post-TBS, a time point at which the potentiation effect is resistant to interference in wild-type slices. We propose that a Rac>PAK signaling pathway needed for rapid stabilization of activity-induced actin filaments, and thus for normal spine morphology and lasting synaptic changes, is defective in FXS.