New protein synthesis is known to be required for the consolidation of memories, yet existing methods of blocking translation lack spatiotemporal precision and cell-type specificity, preventing investigation of cell-specific contributions of protein synthesis. Here we developed a combined knock-in mouse and chemogenetic approach for cell-type-specific drug-inducible protein synthesis inhibition that enables rapid and reversible phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2α, leading to inhibition of general translation by 50% in vivo. We use cell-type-specific drug-inducible protein synthesis inhibition to show that targeted protein synthesis inhibition pan-neuronally and in excitatory neurons in the lateral amygdala (LA) impaired long-term memory. This could be recovered with artificial chemogenetic activation of LA neurons, although at the cost of stimulus generalization. Conversely, genetically reducing phosphorylation of eukaryotic initiation factor 2α in excitatory neurons in the LA enhanced memory strength but reduced memory fidelity and behavioral flexibility. Our findings provide evidence for a cell-specific translation program during consolidation of threat memories.
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