In the course of this thesis, biological NMR spectroscopy was employed in studying membrane-bound peptides and proteins, for which structural information is still comparatively hard to obtain. Initial work focused on various model peptides bound to membrane-mimicking micelles, studying the protonation state of arginine in a membrane environment. Strong evidence for a cation-? complex was found in TM7, a peptide which forms the seventh transmembrane helix of subunit a of the vacuolar-type H+-ATPase (V-ATPase). V-ATPase is a physiologically highly relevant proton pump, which is present in intracellular membranes of all eukaryotic organisms, as well as the plasma membrane of several specialized cells. Loss of functional V-ATPase is associated with human diseases such as osteopetrosis, distal renal tubular acidosis or the spreading of cancer. V-ATPase is considered a potential drug target in the treatment of osteoporosis and cancer, or in the development of novel contraceptives. Results from NMR solution structure determination, NMR titration experiments, paramagnetic relaxation enhancement experiments and tryptophan fluorescence spectroscopy confirm the existence of a buried cation-? complex formed between arginine residue R735, which is essential for proton transport, and neighbouring tryptophan and tyrosine residues. In vivo experiments in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae using selective growth tests and fluorescence microscopy showed that formation of the cation-? complex is essential for V-ATPase function. Deletion of both aromatic residues, as well as only the one tryptophan residue leads to growth defects and inability to maintain vacuolar pH homeostasis. These findings shine new light on the still elusive mechanism of proton transport in V-ATPase, and show that arginine R735 may be directly involved in proton transfer across the membrane.