Specific manipulation of proteins post-translationally remains difficult. Here we report results of a general approach that uses a partial sequence of a protein to efficiently modulate the expression level of the native protein. When applied to coronavirus, human immunodeficiency virus, Ebolavirus, respiratory syncytial virus and influenza virus, polypeptides containing highly conserved regions of the viral glycoproteins potently diminished expression of the respective native proteins. In the cases of coronavirus and influenza virus where multiple strains were tested, the polypeptides were equally effective against glycoproteins of other coronavirus and influenza strains with sequence identity as low as 27%, underscoring their high insensitivity to mutations. Thus, this method provides a platform for developing high-efficacy broad-spectrum anti-viral inhibitors, as well as a new way to alter expression of essentially any systems post-translationally.